Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Reflection Question: How do we bring an increase of Faith and Hope in the world?
Today, for many, there is a crisis of faith and a crisis of hope. We need only watch the news or pick up a newspaper to sense that there seems to be no good news left. When we add to that what might be going on with our personal lives, we might even personally feel the crushing weight of that hopelessness. Like the prophet Habakkuk, we might ponder at the question of whether God is ignoring our prayers—how long we must wait until He does something.
What is the remedy for this faithlessness and hopelessness? How might we increase faith and increase hope? Our world needs a transfusion in order to be transformed—an infusion of faith and of hope—but it must come from somewhere. It cannot come out of nowhere. It must come from us as individual disciples of Jesus Christ. It is we who must be the source.
St. Paul gives counsel to St. Timothy, one of the first bishops in the early Church, in our second reading: “stir into flame the gift of God you have received through the imposition of my hands.” What gift was this? In Timothy’s case, one gift was certainly that of his ordination. But we must remember also that this is not the only Sacrament that involves the laying on of hands—when we receive Confirmation from a bishop or a priest, we are given the strengthening and sealing of the Holy Spirit as the completion of our Baptism. There we receive an infusion of the divine gifts of Faith, Hope, and Charity. These are supernatural virtues, gifts of God, but we once we have them, it is up to us to cooperate with them and stir that ember into a burning flame.
In this way, we become a people who are a beacon of hope. It begins with trusting in who God is—a God who keeps His promises. We must only look in the pages of Scripture to see that it is a book filled with promises fulfilled. Our hope is rooted in our knowledge that the God who has kept His promises will continue to keep them.
And it is our faith which is the assurance of those things hoped for that are unseen, as we are told by the author of the Book of Hebrews. But to stir up our faith, we must also remember that these things we have faith in God about are not only the ones from the deepest past, but also our present lives. To have a living faith means knowing who Jesus Christ is—this is why the Apostles struggled in our Gospel reading, because they were still learning who Jesus is. Once they saw His death and Resurrection, they understood and their faith was strengthened—this was amplified by their reception of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
We must give testimony of these promises that were made and fulfilled. It is our duty and responsibility as His disciples. We must tell how God has worked in our lives and what He has stirred up in us. That testimony makes up a part of the Good News of the Gospel, not merely in what happened long ago, but what God is doing right now. When we have and share it we are lights of Christ shining into the darkness, and we become the beacons of faith and hope that break the shadows of faithlessness and hopelessness with that marvelous light.
By: Father Matthew J. Morelli, Pastor, Church of the Good Shepherd, Kent