Hold fast to your faith

By | October 15, 2009

Every language has its “slang” a kind of informal and often entertaining language. Expressions such as “up for grabs” or “ran out of gas” or “a pain in the neck” are a few examples. One of my favorites is “hunky-dory” meaning that something is satisfactory.

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Bishop Robert Morneau

But in real life things are not hunky-dory. Reading the front page of the daily newspaper or watching the evening news will knock any romanticism out of our souls. Things are not hunky-dory as we read about wars and poverty and misuse of drugs. We live in a world that is insecure and fragile.

Isaiah the prophet did not have hunky-dory in his vocabulary. In the short passage from our first reading the prophet talks about sin, affliction, suffering and guilt. This is pretty rough stuff. And yet the prophet Isaiah is filled with hope because someone is coming who will bear our sin and guilt and bring us salvation. We have here a great mystery but one that is made manifest in Jesus and his dying on the cross. And with the resurrection we begin to regain the possibility that things might eventually be hunky-dory.

In the letter to the Hebrews, we hear more about that someone who is coming and who, in fact, has come. Jesus is the high priest; Jesus is the one who understands from the inside what we all go through in terms of temptation and trials. If we do hold fast to our faith, we shall experience God’s mercy and find help when difficulties come.

Two things are happening in the Gospel passage that indicate that things are not satisfactory, not as they should be. One is ambition and second is indignation. James and John are seeking places of honor; the other ten apostles are smoldering over this power play. Jesus is in the center of this conflictive situation and brings his wisdom to bear on what is really important in terms of discipleship. It is in being for others that greatness lies. To be ambitious about this is a way of life that is hunky-dory.

The word of God is powerful because it is realistic. As we listen to the prophets and the Gospels, we are made aware that things are not as they should be. There is something drastically wrong with the world. We call it sin and that sin becomes manifest in shame and guilt. None of us is free of this reality and even Jesus embraced our human condition and, by his suffering and death, provided us with the grace of salvation.

But we have cause for rejoicing. God is with us in Jesus and in the gift of the Holy Spirit. If we follow the divine plan of service (love) and mercy, all will be well.

Questions for reflection

1. How do you deal with the human condition?

2. Is romanticism something that afflicts your spirit?

3. Why is service given such high importance?


Bishop
Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez. 

 

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