Faith in Action
Oct 7, 2019
2 Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. 3 For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late (Habakkuk 1)
The apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith in today’s gospel reading and he tells them that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could make a tree be uprooted. He does not tell them what faith is or how to increase it. The better insight comes from the prophet Habakkuk as he speaks about the vision that is unfolding. The greatest way to confront the troubles of the day is to put your hope in the vision that is coming. In these post-Christ years that vision is the ultimate end of the present reality, when Christ will come again and all will be all in Him.
Sadly over the years this great vision has been corrupted and often we are left hanging with the question of whether that vision will be for us. We heard in last week’s Gospel of Lazarus going to heaven while the rich man exists in torment. It begins the question: which one will I be?” The rich man is not accused of doing any action that places him in torment, but he is reminded that he lived well in his life on earth while Lazarus did not. Jesus is giving us clues about how faith in God moves us beyond ourselves to reach out to others. Yet the vision that is to be unfolded is about what God is going to do, not what we are going to do.
The movement in spirit is to be attached to the great promise of Christ’s redemption so as to allow it to shape our response to the world around us. Instead of worrying about whether I am going to make it to heaven; faith brings us to a place where we begin looking forward to those days. As we recognize God’s generosity even now, we allow that to form our response to the challenges of the present day. Saint Peter Claver was a great example of this way of life. He was born of a wealthy family in Spain. He became a Jesuit priest and moved to Cartagena, Grenada which was a hub of the African slave trade. He saw himself as one called to minister to the men and women who were captured and sold into slavery. He would meet them in the slave boats before they even were sold. He communicated God’s love to them even as they faced the most horrid futures. He brought them food, water, medicine and care and he continued to reach out to them after they were sold into slavery. It is said the he baptized over 300,000 through his ministry. This is what faith in action really looks like.