A young adult parishioner and I had an intense back-and-forth discussion last week touching on matters of faith. I was challenged in terms of what I believe and why – especially in light of how messed up this world is getting! Where is God in this darkness? It was the kind of deep conversation that I remember having with an “old” priest when I was in my 20’s.
This coming Sunday (and for a few weeks after), the 2nd reading will be taken from the so-called Letter to the Hebrews. This is not “bible study” but a personal reflection. However, just know that Chapter 11 of this “letter” forces the reader (the original listeners and us as well) to deal with what it means “to believe.”
You will hear: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Over the next weeks and in almost poetic language, we’ll be given example after example of a person confronting all the reasons for doubt and hopelessness, and yet he or she will defy the odds and make that “leap” into God’s certainty which transcends our own.
This “summer of our discontent” with its murders and tensions, racial, religious and ethnic atrocities, political hate speech, lies and “spin,” obfuscations, misinformation, partial truths, political tricks, and unfinished promises are all reasons for doubt and loss of hope. There may be many, like myself, who fear that we are re-living all the unlearned lessons of the 1930’s. (And boy did that ultimately work out great for the membership of planet earth, eh?)
But through it all, I hear the language of poetry and prayer: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” Lord, I do believe. Let me know that even in the darkness of doubt, you will be our light and will light our path, if we believe. And if we, as one small local community, can believe and act as though we truly do, then we will make a difference!