17th Sunday in Ordinary Time -
A Reflection by Fr. Leo
“Faith without doubt, is idolatry.” There is great truth in those five well known words from a theologian. Unfortunately many of us were taught that doubt is bad; a sign of lack of faith. Blind obedience was to be the ideal, which, as we will see, is not real faith at all.
We need to embrace the shadow side of life if we are going to come to real faith. So it is OK for us to wonder about the goodness of God and even the existence of God. If we don’t ponder these things we will never have a word to speak to many young people who are disillusioned with religion and have not yet found a genuine spirituality.
So let us wonder. Where was God during the holocaust? Where is God in the Middle East today? Where is God when innocent people are killed or imprisoned? Where is God when the drunk kills our child, or a friend dies because of medical mistakes? Where is God when we pray and nothing happens?
If we are honest, there are times we may feel very disappointed in God. We need to own those feelings and bring them to God. It is only then that we might come to real faith and greater wisdom.
Where was God in many of those situations? God was there, but so was human freedom. Though God did not stop Hitler, he did not direct him either. The Jews were victims of systemic problems in the economics of the time. Also, a country without fathers found its young men susceptible to the mesmerizing rants of an ill man. God never blessed any of that, but leaves humanity to grow through those experiences even at the price of so many lives. The victims and at least and equal amount of victimizers.
I trust that God raised the victims to glory, that God did care about every hair on the heads of all who died. I also believe that God tries to bring the victimizers to conversion as well. For me, God is the great Presence drawing all things to himself, and I trust God is doing so. For me this is faith. May sound crazy, but it is real for me.
It is not that injustice doesn’t bother me, it unnerves me, but I pray and hope that as I knock on God’s door, he will open and answer, and not hand his son a scorpion when he ask for a fish. I surrender myself and all creation to God and pray for his blessing on all. “Lord, give us our daily bread, and forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Lead us all into the fullness of your presence.