I like it best when Jesus ends his teaching with a question: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
What does genuine faith look like? I’m reading a book right now (Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, and the Telling of the Beads by Kevin Orlin Johnson )in which the author recounts, somewhat whistfully it seems to me, earlier times in the history of the Church when people were more certain about what the Church teaches and, more importantly, about the authority of the Church to do so.
I think he has a a point. There is this almost overwhelming angst that runs through so much of Catholic belief and practice in this generation following the Council – an identity crisis over what it means to be a Roman Catholic in the 21st Century and how one ought to express that faith in the marketplace and in the political arena. Find two Catholics, get three opinions.
Here’s the paradox: For me, it is exactly that angst, the sense that we are all searching in the darkness for visible ways to manifest our relationship with Christ as individuals and as a community which serves as the anchor for my faith. Given the tremendous reimagining of the Church that occured at the Council and the reimagining of what it means to be human handed down to us by two hundred years of astounding scientific discoveries isn’t this exactly where we should be? Too much clarity today might signify a failure to grasp the depth of our struggles or even outright denial that anything significant has changed.
I also have faith that clarity will come. In God’s time, though, not in mine. It’s interesting that the virtue of Perseverence threads through each of the three readings this week. Perhaps the Spirit calls us in this generation to persevere in the darkness so that our children and grandchildren might rejoice in the light.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
(To get copies of my book -length writings on the scriptures, go to www.twentythirdpublications.com)