“WE ARE NOTHING BUT PENCILS IN THE HAND OF THE CREATOR”
First Reading: Jeremiah 18:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: 145(146):2-6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:47-53
The phrase above has been in existence for over a decade, which is apparently attributed to Wale Adenuga in his popular Television series “Super Story.” Ever since I started watching the TV program as a child, I had pondered over the true meaning of that phrase, and have eventually come to realize that it evokes numerous interpretations. I also recall that St. Mother Teresa said something very similar: “I am like a little pencil in God’s hand… He does the writing…” Reflecting on these words, we come to realize that the Creator and the Pencil make a great team. It makes us realize that allowing God to steer the affairs of our lives is an act of subjecting ourselves to God’s will in order that his purpose be achieved. This idea can help us understand today’s message of the allegory of the Potter and the clay vessel depicted in today’s first reading.
In the first reading, God sent Jeremiah to the Potter’s house to observe how vessels were made. The prophet observed that whenever the clay vessel came out wrong, the potter would start afresh and work it into another vessel. Then this word of the Lord was addressed to Jeremiah, “House of Israel, can not I do to you what this potter does? – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel.” This drives home a very deep message. It clearly explains that we are “work in progress”; the Lord is not through with us yet. He does not give up on us, even if our initial response leaves a lot to be desired. He is like the patient potter who keeps shaping our lives, taking even what is wrong in our lives and making something new and good from it. Just as pencils are used to achieve artistic excellence, and even if the artwork does not come out well, it could easily be erased and redrawn to something else; also, we as “clay vessels” are “works of art” in the hand of the divine Potter, our Creator, who shapes us patiently and even uses our mistakes to bring something different and new – the very best out of us.
Today’s message denotes God’s patience with us, and also calls us to be patient with God who manages and rules our daily affairs. Our mistakes do not make us bad persons but could transform us positively to becoming better persons in a different way. The patience of God undoubtedly would come to an end on the last day. Those who are perfectly formed would belong to His Kingdom and those who did not cooperate to His grace but chose to be badly formed would be thrown into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Little wonder Christ in today’s gospel talks of the parable of the dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds, after which the good fishes would be separated from the bad, which is thrown away.
Dear friends in Christ, we have to realize that without the grace of God, the divine Potter, we cannot be good at all. Just as a pencil is useless without the one who uses it, so also a clay is useless and shapeless if the potter does not shape it. As God continues to shape us with the breath of His Holy Spirit in order to achieve His divine Will, we also need to cooperate by our disposition to becoming better persons. We must be grateful for this continuous help granted us by God through our response to His Will so that we do not lose His divine breath. Just as today’s Psalmist says: “Take their breath, they return to clay and their plans that day come to nothing. He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the Lord his God…” Indeed, “blest are they whose help is the God of Jacob.”
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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