Reflection for Saturday, February 1, 2003: 3rd week in Ordinary Time.

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Pedersen, Cathy Weiss
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Today's scripture focuses on faith in God. Faith is a gift - one that we can accept or reject.||We need mentors to realize what the gift really is and how to respond to it. Faith - the hope, trust, confidence, or belief that something is - can only be learned in the 'now' of our lives. It doesn't do to be told that one must believe. There must be a foundation, a basis upon which that trust develops.|In the first reading, Sarah and Abraham believed God's promise of offspring, even though Sarah was thought to be sterile in her old age, because they thought that the one (God) who had made the promise was trustworthy. (Hebrews 11: 11)|As an engaged couple considers the promise of marriage, the covenant in which they are entering, I ask them how it is that they are able to make a promise of lifetime commitment with each other. No one can know what tomorrow will bring, let alone what one may face over sixty plus years. Answers vary including the fact that the engaged person loves the other very much, that marriage is a life-long commitment to/with the other, etc. However, the couple has begun to grasp the idea of faith in the other person as a basis for making a commitment of lifelong covenant with their partner when they also name some of the attributes that they have discovered in their partner. They have found the spouse to be trustworthy...the person with whom the engaged person has come to know enough to be able to make this lifelong promise.|The first reading continues-' ...they did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar.' Sarah and Abraham did not live to see their ' ... descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky...' But they did see Isaac, their son, and they believed that God was trustworthy in the promise of more descendants in the promised land. To some degree, parents and mentors place the same hope/confidence in their children/young people. They come to know them to some extent, but then must trust in the Spirit of God acting in/with the young's maturing development of their gifts that all will be OK.|In Mark's gospel, the apostles are frightened by the storm at sea; in fear, they awaken Jesus, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" After Jesus calms the seas, he asks his followers why they are terrified and why do they not yet have faith?|I'm sure that I'd be one of the people trying to wake Jesus. Recently, my daughter had surgery for a lump that we wanted to be sure was not cancerous. Tests and consultations gave a high probability that the lump was not cancerous. However, until the actual surgery/biopsy, our trust that cancer was not present was shaky. Did all the tests, consultations and eventual surgery mean that we did not trust God or the medical community? No - in my books, we trusted the medical community to share what they knew, followed through with their recommendations to assure us all that we were not dealing with cancer. We grew to trust the medical team in order to allow the procedures. We (and many of our family and friends) flooded our healing God with prayers that my daughter would be all right.|Faith was there, but was grounded/rooted in what we knew: God was with us and the medical community was doing what they could to address the uncertainty.|Many times over, Jesus reminded the people that they could now know God, because they knew Jesus. Jesus was tangible to them. Faith does build/ground in the known to open us to the unknown - the intangible.|How do we nurture our faith in God today - to allow God's presence in our lives through others and events to give us the foundation upon which we can have confidence that the One who has made the promise (of relationship/covenant) is trustworthy?
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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