As a child in Joseph’s carpenter shop, Jesus learned to do what his father wanted. Perhaps he began by sweeping up sawdust or fetching a tool, and then graduated to holding a piece of wood in place. Little by little, the child Jesus came to understand more than how to make a straight cut or how to join two pieces of wood together. He began to see the finished work, to see the plough or the table his father wanted to build. Finally, he could take a project from start to finish in a way that made Joseph proud.
In today’s gospel, Our Lord speaks of a similar intimacy with his heavenly Father. He says and does only what he has heard his Father saying and doing. His entire aim is to please his Father and to accomplish his Father’s purpose. And because he keeps that whole purpose in mind, Our Lord is able to undergo setbacks and apparent disasters. He knows that somehow they all contribute to the great plan of salvation.
Like Our Lord, we all want to do God’s will. But in order to become effective in our work, we too need to understand the “big picture.” Sometimes we get tied up in knots trying to figure out the little things in life. Now of course Our Lord cares about every detail of our lives, but we will find it easier to make specific choices once we have a better grasp on the big picture: once we’re able to see what the Father is building and how he is inviting each of us to fit into his great purposes.
Today we learn that the Father raises the dead and gives life. This is one of those “big-picture” truths that can help in our decision making. God is building an eternal kingdom in which everyone is fully alive in him. So how will our choices today help us to experience that life?