Thursday 7 December 2017
Advent Season of Creation. St Ambrose.
Isaiah 26:1-6. Psalm 117(118):1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27. Matthew 7:21, 24-27.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord — Psalm 117(118):1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27.
In what or who do we place our trust; from what do we derive our security?
Isaiah lived in a nation constantly at war. So rocky crags for him were defensible places on which you could build castles. When he describes the Lord as the everlasting rock, he means that we can find our safety in him.
‘We have a strong city; to guard us he has set wall and rampart about us. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is the everlasting rock.’
Isaiah knows all the uncertainty and fears that can undermine trust and how difficult it is. The passage invites us to pray for trust while attending to the things that threaten it.
The Gospel also describes faith as the rock on which the house of our lives must be built. Something that is built on rock can withstand shaking.
“Rains came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall. It was founded on rock’.
When we pray for faith, we do not simply pray for a strong belief. Jesus refers to something deeper. Our faith is a conviction of heart and mind about what matters most. It shapes the way we live. It can withstand the rains, floods and gales from inside and the world that can shake our faith.
That is what Pope Francis asks. He wants us to make the love of the poor as our brothers and sisters and the defence of our environment a high priority. He wants these things to matter. He recognises that this kind of faith will meet many obstacles. He says,
‘Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.’
The winds of disapproval, floods of contempt, gales of resistance and rains of apathy will surely assail us. But it is God’s work to care for the world’s healing and greening. Let us pray for the faith to keep battling at it.
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