We discover in Jesus the vision without which we perish demoralized.
It is hard even for those who are faithful to keep faith alive and to take as norm the vision of the kingdom of God and his righteousness. As in Habakkuk’s case, what drives them to question faith and the vision that comes with it is God’s or Jesus’ apparent lack of concern. They cry out to the Lord in their wretchedness and their cries seem to come up against divine silence.
But it is not that they renounce their faith. They rebel, yes, against God’s justice and protest against his unintelligible silence. Yet they do so within faith (cf. Elie Wiesel, All Rivers Run to the Sea). That is why they dismiss such mocking words as those of Job’s wife: “Are you still holding to your innocence. Curse God and die” (cf. also (Tob 2, 14 and Pope Francis).
And God, knowing that it is faith that gives rise to the complaints, demands that the faithful’s faith be greater and their vision more integral. So, he assures them, “The vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint.” Then he adds, “The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, will live.”
Jesus, too, expects his followers not to be rash nor settle for a mediocre faith nor have illusions about their vision for a renewed humanity.
We Christians must confess that we are people of little faith. We need to ask Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Probably, no one can say of us now that we are slow to believe in a suffering Messiah. But do we not deny our faith by exchanging Christian vision for a worldly one? Among whom do we count ourselves? Among those who deserve the “woes” Jesus uttered or among those he proclaimed blessed?
We should have, moreover, the same attitude as the one who took the form a slave. Hence, after fulfilling our obligations, we still have to recognize that we are useless servants. We only do—by God’s grace, adds St. Vincent de Paul (CRCM XII, 14)—what we ought to do. We shall avoid, then, foolish self-congratulation and disproportionate disappointment (Ibid., 3 and 4).
Those truly disappointed within faith, because of the delay in the fulfillment of the vision, do not only look forward to the realization of the vision. They also hasten it. They wait for the moment of grace by bearing their share of hardship for the Gospel.
Lord Jesus, make of us a living sacrifice that is pleasing to God. Let us work with you in the fulfillment of your vision for a mature humanity that attains the full measure of your fullness.
October 2, 2016
27th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Hab 1, 2-3; 2, 2-4; 2 Tim 1, 6-8. 13-14; Lk 17, 5-10