Leap of faith

Word Alive by Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

October 6, 2019 /27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

CROATIA,  I’m writing my column here in Zagreb, Croatia, where I serve as chaplain to a group of pilgrims to the Balkan States, including Medjogorje where the Blessed Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to six visionaries.

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GOSPEL REFLECTION. “Habakkuk” is the name of an obscure prophet in the Old Testament. In the  first reading of this 27th Sunday, we read about him. What’s amusing about this man is his audacity to stand up to God, saying, “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen!”

* * *

Then seeing all the violence and misery around, he dared to question how God is governing the world. “I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?” (Hab 1,2-3)

Habakkuk may well represent a good number of us in situations when everything seems to be going wrong, when we feel that God is so distant and does not seem to care about our problems. 

* * *

For instance, why does a good God allow unimaginable misery to fall on people devastated by typhoons, floods,  and other calamities? 

Or why do godless people continue to sow terror and misery as in kidnappings, hold-ups and senseless killings? Add to that, administration officials who plunder the government coffers without any qualms of consicience.

* * *

God’s answer is: “Be patient with me. I am the Master. What I ask of you is to have faith…the just one, because of his faith, shall live” (Hab 1,4).

When I did my study in Leicester, England, there was a British lady personnel  at the university with whom I occasionally chat  about religion. 

“I find it hard to believe there’s Someone up there,” she said. “What I’ve gone through can’t make me accept that God exist.”

    * * *

“When I was 28 years old, my husband died in an accident; within that year, five of my relatives including my father and grandfather died. I thought that was the end. But just when I was recovering from  the harrowing experience, my father-in-law died. 

* * *

“Last year my new husband who’s a truck driver,” she paused and I held my breath, thinking the new husband would die again! I was relieved when she continued: “He was driving and bumped an old man who died on the spot.”

“It’s just too much to take,” she moaned. “I developed migraines and insomnia; until now I’m seeing a psychiatrist.”

“I can understand your feelings,” I said groping for answers. “If I’m in your place, I’d feel the same way. But it’s not the end of the world. You’re still here. 

* * *

“You must bear in mind that, despite those setbacks, you don’t lose your faith in God. Faith is accepting that He is there–not just in good times but also in bad.”

Other crisis situations could be a lingering illness which one has to bear throughout life, a serious financial problem, the loneliness of a solo parent, an  appointment which became a “dis-appointment.”  

If you can remedy your problem, by all means do it. 

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In this Sunday gospel, the apostles ask our Lord: “Increase our faith.”

Our Lord replies, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted…and it would obey you” (Lk 17,5). 

It does not mean that faith will give us power to move trees, literally. But faith will give us power to COPE with difficulties, overcome obstacles and see through the harsh realities in life. 

* * *

May the Lord increase our faith, especially in difficult times.

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PRAY THE ROSARY. October is the month of the HOLY ROSARY and tomorrow,  October 7, is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Let’s find time to pray the rosary, especially as a family. 

THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER.

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SICK INDIGENTS. Let’s help alleviate the sufferings of some indigent sick we’re supporting, like Dante C. who’s undergoing hemodialysis twice a week,  five-year-old leukemia  patient Alison L., Rosanna C., M. Maranga, Jacky L. 

Contribute an amount to buy medicines and pay their medical treatments. Your help may save the lives of these poor people.

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For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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