A Letter from Fr. Paul - August 11, 2019
As of August 1, I have been able to walk with a large walking boot and a walker. I might be able to celebrate Mass this coming weekend. We will see how things go.
Please remember to register for our two-hour retreat on Mary’s Magnificat by Br. Silas starting at 9 am on Saturday, August 24th, in the church. You can register on our webpage or by calling the parish office.
Our readings this weekend deal with “faith.” The Israelites had faith that God would keep his promises; that faith gave them the courage to trust that the “Passover” would happen and so they left the security of what they knew in Egypt (bad as it was) for the unknown in the desert. Abraham also left the security of his clan and set out with his family into the unknown, trusting in God’s promise. And in the Gospel Jesus invites His disciples (that includes us) to the same kind of faith when he says, Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms.
But what exactly IS faith? I think Sister of St. Joseph Mary McGlone says it well in her comments on this weekend’s readings: Today's three readings describe faith not as belief in something definitive, but radical openness to whatever God is bringing about. Faith is a verb that keeps us in movement…faith kept all of them [the Israelites fleeing Egypt, Abraham, and Jesus’ disciples] on the move.
In contrast to McGlone’s definition, faith is often equated with doctrines or dogma that are unchanging, that give meaning and stability to life. From one point of view, I think this is the basis of the tension in the Church these days: Pope Francis is calling us to trust, to move out of our comfort zone and reach out to others, to be willing to change and perhaps grow past some of the ways we have been thinking, believing and acting. The push back that he receives is from those who emphasize the “truth” of what the Church has taught and resist change or modification in the way of thinking.
I might not be saying it well and, as with most things in life, it is not one side or the other, but rather both/and. We need to honor and keep the tenets of our Faith, but we also need to be open to growth in all that is not essential. Maybe the key is where we are looking for security. Do we look for security in things we believe in and cling to them like a security blanket? Or do we put our security in trusting God, being open to where God might be leading us?
I invite us this week to spend some time reflecting on what “faith” means in our lives. For me, how much is it a set of beliefs I hold to? How much is “faith” a verb for me, being open for where God is calling me? Am I happy with the balance in my life? If not, how can I change? As we reflect, let us pray for ourselves and each other: Come Holy Spirit, enlighten our eyes of faith.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS
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