Wednesday, August 05, 2015

As You Wish

Corresponding to the number of days you spent reconnoitering the land—forty days—you shall bear your punishment one year for each day: forty years. Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me. I, the LORD, have spoken; and I will surely do this to this entire wicked community that conspired against me: here in the wilderness they shall come to their end and there they will die.”  Numbers 14:34-35

Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.  Matthew 15:28

On August 6 and 9, the world marks the 70th anniversary of the only uses of nuclear weapons on civilian populations -- the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. This translation of Psalm 122 by Stephen Mitchell is one we all can pray that war be wiped from the face of the earth.

Psalm 122
I rejoiced when I heard them announce,
“The time of warfare is past.
No more will brother hate brother
or violence have its way.
No more will they drown out God’s silence
and shut their hearts to God’s song.”

Pray for peace in the cities
and harmony among the races.
May peace come to live in our streets
and justice within our walls.
With all my heart I will pray
that peace comes to live among us.
For the sake of all the earth’s people,
I will do my utmost for peace.

—trans. by Stephen Mitchell

Contrasting pictures of faith are delivered.  In the Hebrew Bible, we see the lack of faith as once again, Moses leads the grumbling masses through the desert.  In the New Testament, we see an abundance of faith against all odds – against even Jesus seeming ready to refuse to serve the woman until she displays how great her faith really is.

In what does the lack of faith result?  The Lord’s sentence in the Book of Numbers is that the people will die in the desert.  In what does the abundance of faith result?  The Canaanite woman has the demons lifted from her daughter’s life.

"Each moment is an invitation to experience God."
Where are we on that continuum which measures faith?  At any time, we can move along this scale. When we completed our Cursillo weekend experience, maybe we felt like we had just witnessed the Transfiguration and had a “mountain-top” experience.  When we return to the world and face illness, sometimes death of those who are close to us, sometimes disappointments in life not working out as we hoped, we move to the lower end of that scale (like the grumbling Hebrews in the desert?).

The important step when walking through the dryness of our desert times is to maintain the daily practices of piety, study and action.  Last week, Fr. James Martin, SJ posted this comment to his social media pages:  “St. Ignatius Loyola's invitation to Find God in all things does not mean that all things are God. Rather, that each moment is an invitation to experience God.” 

What moment will you get that invitation today? What will you do with it? 

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