If God has a plan for each of us, what does it mean to have free will?
It is fairly common now for a television series, especially a drama, to have a main story arc that runs through all of its individual episodes. One of the first television shows to tell a story this way was a science fiction series called Babylon 5. It was created and largely written by a man named Michael Straczynski. When the show debuted Mr. Straczynski told his audience that he had an overall story arc that would take five years to tell. He had everything plotted out. He knew what would happen to all the characters and all the changes they would go through. And he knew exactly how the story would end. Now of course when you are dealing with people things do not always work out the way you planned. After the first season, his lead actor left the show. As the story unfolded life got in the way, situations changed, and actors came and went. But every time that happened the show’s creator would simply make an adjustment and carry on, his vision for the show remained unaltered. And when the show ended its’ run five years later, it ended exactly how Mr. Straczynski intended it to.
This is what we mean by saying, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” God’s vision, His saving plan for us, is big enough to allow us our freedom. But how often do we use our freedom in an attempt to usurp that which belongs to God?
Jesus tells us to call no man father, but what did He mean by that? Our Lord’s closest followers, including those who traveled with Him during His ministry here on Earth, did not take the statement to mean the word should be stripped from our language except in reference to God. St. John addresses fathers directly in his first letter. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, calls himself father.
In this passage Jesus was speaking of Scribes and Pharisees who had become corrupt and arrogant. They competed amongst themselves for prestige, honor and disciples. The disciples of a particular Pharisee would call him father but they would not refer to any other as such. The Scribes and Pharisees had forgotten that the source of religious truth and grace was God.
Jesus is warning His own followers not to give to men that which is due to God alone. We call aa priest “father” because he has been chosen by God to be set apart for special service to God’s people, through the sacrament of Holy Orders.
All grace, mercy, and wisdom originate with God. But He has chosen to convey those qualities to us through human instruments chosen by Himself. As we are beings of both body and spirit, we experience grace in our lives through our senses, things we can see, hear, and touch. And so God lowers Himself to our level, to send us divine grace through human instruments.
That is the reason God became one of us in the first place.