4 November 2009 Wednesday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 13, 8-10; Psalm 112; Luke 14, 25-33
The Parables of the Tower Builder and the King in the Gospel today tell us the importance of planning. Before both of them began an endeavor such as building a tower or going to war, they first spent time to “calculate the cost” to see whether they have enough resources to complete the project. Planning is a love-activity. We plan because we care: it is for the good of an project or a group of people. It helps us avoid mistakes and failures. It prevents us from unnecessary stress due to the absence of direction or a clear purpose. It helps us manage an organization well by understanding concretely what we want to achieve, when it is to be done and how we can do it. Planning helps us by preparing ourselves for the future. We know that the future is vague, but at least with a plan on hand, the future becomes visible somehow. The unknown because bearable. If we don’t plan, the consequence can be disastrous.
There are many ways to plan or manage a project. But for the intents and purposes of small organizations in schools and parishes, one can just ask three questions. First, where are we? It is good to assess realistically where we stand: the state of our finances, our human resources, what we are already doing.
Second, where do we want to go? It is important that we know clearly our vision for the organization and the goals that we want to achieve. A clear vision helps us direct our actions and weed out unnecessary activities that does not lead us to the goals we have in mind.
And finally, how do we get there? Having clarified the goals and knowing what we have and where we are, we can now think of ways of achieving the goals considering the resources on hand. In many situations, we are not actually setting up a new project. We just want to modify, maintain or change certain activities. If this is the case, we can ask how we can get on track again. Many of our organizations have visions that remain valid and noble like associations with a long history. But the methods and activities may be archaic for it to be effective and relevant in the present time. When we ask how we can be on track again, we may be able to identify corrective actions to address issues and risks properly. In achieving the same goals on which the organization was founded, new ways of proceeding can breath new life to a dying organization.
It is good to be aware that God took time and used time to plan for our salvation. He waited for the right time, and when the perfect moment came, He sent His Son to redeem us. Part of planning is a sensitivity to the correct time of implementation.
Think for example if we are to ask forgiveness. First, we have to be aware of what we have done, what we actually said, and what it has caused.
Second, we have to continually affirm how important another person is to us. We may not care so much for another but if a good working environment will be profitable, we can actually go beyond our personal differences and negotiate a better peaceful co-existence.
And finally, if we find the relationship or environment crucial, then we have to adapt corrective measures such as asking for forgiveness to reconcile with the past. Usually, the person we hurt have to struggle with the pain. And often it requires a period of time. We cannot force them to forgive us right away, when we want it. We have to find the right time when they are ready to hear us out. Thus we too have to plan how we are going to say sorry and when we are to ask for mercy.
Often a strained relationship turns to the worst because the parties are clueless to the proper time. And how do we know the proper time? We just feel it. Perhaps this is the time to develop and learn sensitivity: hurts are sometimes caused by its absence.
We must see that every preparation for the future is always part of our faith.