Have Faith In God
Fifth Sunday of Easter (A)
My dear encountered couples:
“DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED. HAVE FAITH IN GOD AND FAITH IN ME.” That’s what Jesus is telling us whenever we feel troubled. And we often feel troubled, don’t we? There’s a lot to trouble us!
More and more people are losing their jobs these days. Many of our large businesses and corporations have been moving their manufacturing plants out of the country. Labor is cheaper in other countries, we are told, and in order to survive the companies must set up shop there. This is certainly not good news for people here whose livelihood depends on jobs in their home towns, jobs that some of them have held for years and years.
What is a person to do, especially those over 50? It is said that it is getting harder and harder for people over fifty years of age to get a decent paying job, if they can get any job at all. They say it is cheaper to hire younger men and women. Even though they lack the experience that older people bring with them, the jobs seem to be going to those who can be paid lower salaries.
Pensions that have been promised to long-time workers are not always there when retirement day comes. They find that the funds were misspent or mismanaged - or stolen. Social security is no longer depicted as a sure thing. It has been revealed that the government spends our social security money on other things, like jet airplanes. It is not being used and saved as we thought.
Then there are the millions of people working for minimum wage. “Guaranteed poverty” is a better word for it. No one can support a family, not even himself on minimum wage, not even on a couple of bucks an hour above minimum. More and more conscientious, hard-working people are entering the ranks of poverty and homelessness.
Even for those who have no worries about money, there are plenty of other things that seem to be troubling them. The wealthy have their share of family problems as do the un-wealthy. Divorce has gotten out of control. It is no longer the last resort; it is more and more topping the charts as the first thing anyone slightly unhappy seriously considers.
I’ll bet you have problems. Problems that I haven’t mentioned. Health problems, school problems, environment problems, neighbor problems, tax problems, car problems, parent problems, children problems, even your dog can’t seem to learn to wait until you put him outside. What does Jesus say to all this?
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me. I’ve got a lovely condo under construction for you in heaven.”
As a representative of God’s Church, that’s what I enjoy reminding you about. When your life is really going sour, when it arrives at the bottom of the pit, “Have Faith!” God will get you through.
But what are you to do in the meantime? Sit on your hands and wait for your condo in heaven to be finished? Was it Karl Marx who first said, “Faith is the opium of the people?” Whoever said it first I’m afraid faith can be used as a type of consciousness-dulling device. Like alcohol and drugs can dull our awareness of reality, so sometimes can faith - the wrong kind of faith.
Yes, there is wrong kind of faith. There is faith that is not the faith that Jesus talked about. There is faith that destroys; there is faith that builds. There is faith that the devil would like us to have; faith that God wants us to have.
The devil’s type of faith is the kind that says “Be satisfied with the status quo, don’t fight city hall, whatever will be will be, don’t do anything about anything, just quit griping and flow with the current. God is taking care of you and in the end you’ll get that dwelling place in heaven.” This type of faith is telling us not to make any waves, just let the world run over us anyway it might please. HOGWASH! That’s not the faith Jesus wants for us.
Jesus showed us by his life that we are to be active. We are to be involved. We are to do something about whatever is wrong in our world. We are not to sit around and let the parade pass us by. Faith means doing. Faith means effort. Faith means realizing the power of God within you and using it to carry out his will. No one is supposed to allow bad times and evil continue on its merry way. God didn’t, and he still doesn’t. God sent his Son into the world to do something about it. And he did.
Now he has sent you into the world to do something about it. God has commissioned you and me, all of us, to help him with his work against evil. Maybe it won’t be easy, maybe we will seem to fail, but we must try to do what we can. Faith is confidently doing with God what we believe needs to be done to make people’s lives and this world of ours better. We are to do it with honesty, with concern, with care and consideration. In other words - with love! With God’s Spirit of love we are to un-relentlessly do our best to right situations that need to be righted.
This might sound something like the work of the Lone Ranger, Batman, and Superman all rolled into one. It is! Even much more! It’s the work of God. And those with faith are called upon to do it - with the methods of God, and in partnership with his Son. Only those with real, genuine faith are qualified to do it.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus says. “Have faith in God and faith in me.” Let’s do that. When you are doing something for the good of others, even for those in your own home, then you have some of that faith he speaks about. Keep at it. God is love. We are to love. True faith in God puts that love into action. Do what you can — and remember - God is with you.
Jesus said: “I solemnly assure you, the man and woman, the boy and girl who has faith in me will do the works I do, and greater far than these.”
MAY YOUR FAITH BE TRUE. MAY YOUR FAITH GROW STRONG. MAY YOUR LIFE MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE!