Monday, October 29, 2012

The Lord is Always Faithful

The Lord is Always Faithful

October 31, 2012
Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

The Lord is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works.  (Psalm 145:13b)

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”  (Luke 13:24)


Lord, though we live in troubled times, let me always be grounded in you.  May I always put you at the center of my life. 


As I am writing this, I am sitting in my living room waiting for the ill effects of Hurricane Sandy to make themselves felt.  I hardly need a hurricane, though, to feel tossed about by strong winds, winds of controversy.  Whether I pick up my phone or turn on the television, there is always someone waiting to tell me what a disaster it will be if I vote for the other party’s candidate.  No matter who’s talking, the message is always that if the other party wins, the world as we know it will come to a screeching halt.  Facebook is full of “friends’” political endorsements.  The rhetoric is at such a heated pitch, I fear it could tear some relationships apart.  No matter what our political leanings, there ought to be something that unites us as Americans.

There is no less turmoil when I look at the Church.  On Sunday mornings there are many more empty seats in my parish than there have ever been in the 16 or 17 years I have been a member there.  No matter where I turn, there are arguments over the language in the Mass, what language the Mass should be celebrated in, the music we sing or chant, what social action ministries we are a part of, what nuns should be doing, etc. People I know personally have left the Church or are planning to find spiritual homes elsewhere, and that bothers me.  Others insist that the Church never makes mistakes, is never wrong.  To me, as soon as we human beings are part of the equation, there is always the possibility that we can err.  It bothers me that we are so often more interested in being right than in seeking the Spirit or finding our common ground in our faith in Christ. 

Even on the home front, the winds of dissension are blowing and tossing me around.  One sibling thinks my father is saying and doing “stupid” things, not able to see that his so-called “stupidity” reflects the early stages of dementia.  The other sibling thinks it would be great if the hurricane damaged my dad’s house and gave us an “excuse” to put him in an assisted-living facility, where we wouldn’t have to worry about him.  I think it’s very sad that we can’t be united in putting my father’s best interests first and in treating him with respect and dignity.

So, it is with great relief that I read the psalmist’s words today, “The Lord is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works.”  No matter how much we humans may mess things up or how forcefully the winds of controversy may blow, there is a profound sense of peace in knowing that God is always God, always faithful, always holy.  My faith in God is what centers me. It is what keeps me from being swept away on ill winds, no matter how strong. 

Even Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel reading, though blunt, are a relief.  There’s no empty political rhetoric, no sugar-coating reality to gain my vote, no wild promises that can’t possibly be fulfilled. There’s just the simple truth.  If you want to be my disciples, if you want to share in eternal life with me, there is a way.  But it entails a narrow gate.  The ticket to entry is faithful discipleship.  A faithful disciple loves God above all else and loves his or her neighbors as well.  A faithful disciple cares especially for the poor, the hungry, the neglected, the abused, the mentally and physically disabled, the elderly – whomever we find at the margins of society.   Jesus’ words focus my life on what’s really important.


When there is turmoil all around, what centers you?  What words of Scripture do you hold onto? 

No comments: