Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 7, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we are taught about the nature of faith and hope.
Stay awake and be ready!
For you do not know
on what day your Lord will come.
Our readings today are long, complex, and rich. Trying to pray with them this morning brought an image to mind.
Like many Dads, mine both loved and hated putting the lights on the Christmas tree. No matter how carefully he had stored them the previous year, those endless wires and tiny bulbs managed to morph into a ball of frustration when he opened the box.
But Dad persevered because he knew what the end result would be. After a few hours, when he finally leaned over to plug in his work, the whole family all held our breath both in anticipation and trepidation. That was because, most of time, nothing happened… no lights. Zilch.
Dad would then exclaim a litany over the fragile mess – one that I was prohibited from repeating. This chant signaled that we all immediately join in testing every single bulb to find the culprit which had caused the blackout. Ah! Family Christmas rituals!
Well, I think today’s readings are like those labyrinthine lights. Each passage contains a string of bulbs that must be twisted and turned over in our prayer to help us discover their illumination.
The central current for me is this: faith is a relationship, long and unbreakable. Even if a bulb goes out every now and again, keep searching for the energy and light, just as our foremothers and fathers did.
Our faith and hope are rooted in that sacred heritage:
In the ancient faith of Moses:
The night of the passover was known beforehand to our ancestors,
that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
they might have courage.
In the trusting songs of David
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
In the grounding insights of Paul
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
And in the promise of Jesus to those who remain faithful
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”
Our readings assure us that, for those who hope and believe, there is no doubt what the end result will be. Our faith will be blessed by the glorious light of God.
Prose from Richard Rohr: