Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time (July 17, 2018): How firm is your faith?

Thứ Hai, 16-07-2018 | 14:45:36

Today’s Readings:

Isaiah 7:1-9
Ps 48:2-8
Matthew 11:20-24

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Good News Reflection: How firm is your faith?

“Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm!” That’s the message of today’s first reading. How can our faith remain steady when we allow circumstances in our lives to take our eyes off of Jesus? Unless we focus on in him, we’re weak and vulnerable and easily shaken by the struggles we face.

Trust is a choice. Fear tells us to distrust God and trust our own assumptions, which are based on limited evidence. Fear is a feeling, but trust is a decision. God eagerly helps us to make that decision. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, he gives us divine evidence that contradicts any discouraging evidence, although often it comes in ways that are, at first, easy to overlook.

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus uses as evidence the miracles and mighty deeds of God. What trials are you enduring right now? In the midst of the frightening, burdensome and frustrating events that spell out bad news, look for evidence that God hasbeen at work, for there you will find good news.

Many years ago, bad news nearly destroyed my faith after eight months of unsuccessfully trying to sell our house at a time when other houses were selling in less than two weeks. Because we had entrusted the sale to God, I interpreted the problem as evidence that God did not care about me. He cared about everyone else, even the atheist down the street who sold his house in two days, but not me.

However, God did provide evidence that he was working a good plan on my family’s behalf. The house we wanted to move into got sold to someone else, but the deal fell through. Our son was able to finish Kindergarten without changing schools. God gave us friends who prayed for us. And so on.

When I finally chose to open my eyes to the good that God was doing, I became free to trust. A month later — which was just enough time to discover that I really could remain firm in faith — the house sold.

God’s mighty deeds happen every day, especially during difficulties. However, unless we allow these miracles to transform us, deepening our reliance on God, our faith is easily shaken. As Jesus said, we become worse off than the sinful cities of Tyre and Sidon and Sodom, because we have more evidence of God’s goodness than they did.

Distrust is a rejection of God’s goodness. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and the penance rite at the beginning of Mass then become more of God’s miracles: The Lord provides the grace we need to pay more attention to his loving interventions.

Today’s Prayer:

Lord, what would become of me if You were not ministering to me every day! I want to trust You, I choose to trust You. Strengthen my faith and I’ll be able to see the wonders You work for me. Amen.

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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