Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword -Trust
A common complaint heard these days is that it is not possible to be as trusting as in times gone by. Houses need to be secured; cars need to be locked; housing estates looking more like gaols with their security systems and high walls! Today's readings seek to present God as a God of assurance rather than as a threatening Presence to be feared.

1 Kings 19:9. 11-13: Here we see Elijah, dejected and fearful, doubting his vocation and threatened by his enemies. He seeks assurance from God and finds encouragement in God's presence , not in the raging of nature, but in the gentle breeze softly moving by.

Romans 9: 1-5: Paul is deeply saddened by the refusal of many of his Jewish colleagues to see in Christ the promised Messiah. The voice of God was there to be heard, but it was not being recognised.ƒ‚‚‚ 

Matthew 14: 22-33: Like Elijah, the disciples were in deep trouble! Peter, ever the impulsive one, responded to Christ's words of encouragement, but his sense of trust left him and he became afraid. He, literally, went to water! But he had the good sense to regain his sense of trust with his "Lord! Save me"! to be mildly rebuked by Christ -"Man of little faith! why did you doubt"?

Point 1: Even before the spectre of 'terrorism" presented itself, people had already become less trusting in their attitudes. I don't think this has happened because there are no longer people around who can be trusted; it is just that, as our population increases and feels the impact of multiculturalism and the breakdown of traditional values, there are more people whose moral code we are unfamiliar with and, consequently, we set ourselves to live as though no one can be trusted. Living, then, becomes a very insular affair as fear enters into our decision making processes.

Point 2: In the matter of religious practice, unfortunately, fear has played a dominant role in forming our understanding of God. There are still many people who see God as the "Great Avenger", ready to pounce and to punish any misdemeanour. Indeed. there are still those who think that human misfortune is the direct result of divine intervention punishing misdeeds. Such thinking results in many people rejecting religion because they find the concept of a vengeful, frightening God oppressive and intolerable.
Fortunately, recent years have seen a change in emphasis. Whilst we cannot dismiss the thought that Divine Law, like all forms of law, must carry a sanction, God is now been presented in the light of a loving, concerned partner who encourages us to live our lives in a spirit of association rather than under the shadow of a threat. This, of course, is not a novel image of God, and it is an image well portrayed in the readings that we have just heard. As with Elijah, if and when we find ourselves confronted with turmoil and aggression, we need to take time out to give God a chance to speak to us in his own way. Paul, too, had his own problems. He was saddened by the refusal of so many of his colleagues to see in Christ the promised Messiah. The voice of God was there, but it was not been heard. I imagine there are many parents whose children reject the Faith, so precious to them, who will appreciate Paul's feelings. And, like, Paul, we should not give up hope, for the power of prayer can prepare the ground for personal response. Then there is Peter! How accurately his experience mirrors our own. Full of enthusiasm we accept difficult tasks; but then the going gets tough! We start to ask ourselves -"Have we bitten off more than we can chew?" "What am I doing here"? It is then we need to call on all of our reserves of trust. A marriage comes under pressure? Doubt overshadows a religious vocation? What is happening in today's church? Like Peter we are inclined to panic; but let us follow Peter all the way with his cry of faith "Lord! Save me"! This is our ultimate resource of trust.

Conclusion: "Trust me" is part of our modern jargon. And if others are entitled to appeal to our sense of trust, cannot Christ be equally entitled to call on us to trust Him?

Scriptural reference: "By the Lord are the steps of a man made firm and he approves his way. Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate, for the hand of the Lord sustains him" (Psalm 37:23-24)