Not My Will, But Your Will Be Done
By Father Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose, and Vicar General for Special Projects, Diocese of San Jose.
Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn, was baking chocolate cookies which were traditionally made with regular white flour and melted bitter sweet chocolate mixed together, when she discovered she had run out of baker’s chocolate. All she had was regular confectionary chocolate, so she took that and cut it into small chips intending to let it melt in the dough. However, the pieces did not melt and the cookies turned out to be what we now know as chocolate-chip cookies.
The interesting part of the story is that a mistake turned out to be a new invention – chocolate-chip cookies. We do not always know how things are going to turn out. Sometimes, they turn out for the better even though in the midst it seems like something bad. Something good comes as a result of it.
As Christians, we believe that all things can be worked out for the good. We are not talking about little things like chocolate chip cookies. We are talking about life as a whole.
No matter what happens to us, our family or to our friends, all things can be worked for the good of salvation. Therefore, when bad things happen to us, as they often do, we are called to have a deep faith that says “I know this is a bad thing; I don’t like it but I also believe that God can work some good out of this.” We say what Jesus says in today’s Agony in the Garden, “Not my will, Lord, but your will be done.”
That sounds so easy to say but when we are in the midst of pain and suffering it is very hard sometimes to let go of our own will and to allow the Father’s will to take its course. We often think, “Why have you abandoned me, Lord?” And that is the very cry we hear in the Passion narrative today.
Despite all of the good that God did in and through Christ, his companions turned away from him. His enemies ganged up on him and found a way to have him crucified. Luke’s Gospel even has Pilate and Herod not wanting him dead but the crowd of enemies prevail.
That sometimes happens in our life. Things prevail around us and it becomes painful. We are called to allow the Lord to work the good through and in us. It is exactly what Christ did. Christ submitted himself to the Father’s Will and despite what seems to be darkness and gloom, the Resurrection dawned a new era.
Nothing can thwart God’s Will. We do not always understand it. Something new will be born and that is the clear message that Resurrection is our final destiny. That we will all, no matter what happens on this side, we will all be welcomed in to heaven on the other side. That no matter what our enemies may say or do, Christ has our back. In the end, God’s love prevails. We say, “Lord, not my will but your will be done.”