The first reading from verses 10 and 11 from Isaiah, Chapter Fifty-five, are incomplete without verses 8 and 9 which lead into them. Let me quote them:
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways, says he Lord.
As high as the heaven are above the earth so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.”
And that leads into today’s reading that goes:
“For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down, and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sow and bread to him who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, But shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”
Every year with my Sixth Grade classes at St. Paul’s I’d hold up a dollar bill, saying I would give it to the first student who could memorize from verse 8 through 11.
It was fun watching twenty or so kids mouthing those verses, trying to stack them away in their brains.
God’s “words” that go forth from him in such abundance are the inspirations he pours out on all humanity, urging us, moment by moment, to do what is right, to avoid what is wrong.
I have a faint recollection of a question and answer from our grade school catechisms. The way I remember it is:
Q. Can we resist the grace of God?
A. We can, and unfortunately often do, resist his graces.
The once popular song "I Believe" had a line that went, “I believe that for every drop of rain that falls a flower will grow.”
That was hooey! Maybe for every five billion drops or rain that fall a flower will grow, and maybe for every five billion generous suggestions God puts in our hearts, we respond to only one. Not to worry. His graces are as numerous as rain drops.
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