THE POWER OF FAITH
Superman of the 50’s was“faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, able to bend steel in his bare hands.” The Gospel “superman” is able to move mulberry trees with a single word (In Matthew’s and Mark’s version the person of faith can move mountains). Sounds impossible! Maybe we have a list of even more “impossible” feats.
ble! Maybe we have a list of even more “impossible” feats. Previously Jesus commanded forgiving 7 times in single day. The disciples say: give us faith! Need faith to forgive like that. You have to be a superman/woman… to forgive the same person who has hurt or gossiped, or a spouse who has been unfaithful, … to regroup after loss of job, … to get through life after a divorce, … to face pain, the death of loved one, or death for self. If we can do this, we are superman/woman. The first reading from Habakkuk sounds like life today. Violence defined the world of the Israelites 6th century BC as it does in ours. The feelings of people are no different in every age when they see death and destruction: “How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? but you do not listen!” (Habakkuk 1:2-3). Why does God let terrible things happen” .
Humans experience everything collapsing, like in Habakkuk’s world or the twin towers. Some crises are age related: teen age stress, mid life crisis, aging in general. We have tried out best, nothing works. A loved one betrays us or dies. We have personal questions: we wonder about our own value; we feel overcome with guilt; we realize our ultimate mortality. In the tedium of life, life is so boring! Who cares? How do you get by? In Romans and Galatians we read,“The just one, because of his faith, shall live.” This originally appears the Old Testament Habakkuk 2:4: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” You may remember the story of a cross found in wreckage of the Twin Towers, formed from two pieces of steel. Some say it was a miracle. Maybe, but the real miracle is that someone could see God in that tragedy through a faith that gives courage, hope, love, and the promise of eternal life. Faith is a surrender, an act of trust in God’s love; we live by faith, more than by logic or reason to get us through..
Faith was needed for Habakkuk; “the vision” of God gave hope despite everything wrong in the 6th century BC. Faith was needed for Jesus: “Father, if it is possible, take the cup, but your will be done… Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Faith was needed for St. Paul and for the Church in the first century facing persecutions; St. Paul is writing in prison, not knowing the future, ultimately facing death. Faith is needed for the Church at the beginning of twenty-first century facing a culture that rejects gospel values, where greed and violence seem to rule life, business, and politics. Faith does not take away problems; it gets us through them.
Yours in Christ,