32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Nov. 11, 2012)

“Praise the Lord.” The first verse of the Psalm which follows tells us the reason for this praise: “The Lord keeps faith forever.” Now that is a twist in the usual way of thinking, which focuses more on how you and I are keeping faith with the Lord. But here the Psalmist is asking us to consider the Lord’s faith.

Now what does the Lord have faith in? The only possible answer is that the Lord has faith in us, the People of God. And what is it about us that provides the Lord with reason to have faith in us?

I believe that Sunday’s readings from 1 Kings and the Gospel provide the answer. Both stories feature widows who are clearly persons of faith. They seem calm and peaceful, even as the widow of Zarephath informs Elijah that she and her son will soon die from starvation. The widow of the Gospel knows that her gift of two coins is going to mean severe deprivation, yet there is a quiet dignity that marks her action.

Their actions display a profound trust in God. They recognize that the future is in God’s hands. Their lives have certainly been hard. They have suffered. They have struggled. And in the struggles of their lives they have learned one of life’s central facts … we are not in charge, God is!!!

All too many people go through life figuring that they are in charge. This works well until a major setback occurs which knocks us off stride, which makes us realize how powerless we are. Invariably, we are going to try to figure out ways to respond to the setback, to get out from under the sword hanging over our head. And quite naturally, our instinctive way to move out is: “What can I do about this?”

God has faith that we will eventually realize that He alone can give us what we need to live life well, to grow, to pass through setback and danger. And when, with God’s grace, we figure that out, our lives will display the same calm spirit and faith filled certainty of the holy women whose praises are sung in Sunday’s Scripture.

Love deeply, laugh often, pray faithfully!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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