The view from the pit
Terrorism and war
These terrible troubles and the threat of these troubles seem to be darkening our world more and more nowadays.
Sometimes we focus on these dark problems and dangers so much that it is like looking down into a pit and the darkness fills our sight and our mind.
Usually that is a good way to fall INTO the pit.
Today’s readings should encourage us to take a step back and to look at more than just the darkness and to hear the voice of the Lord, who cared for the multitude in their earthly need in today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:13-21) and who calls us to partake of the spiritual and other goodness he offers us in today’s first reading (Isaiah 55:1-3):
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
Does this mean we should ignore earthly challenges, troubles, and threats? Not at all.
Does that mean that bad things will never happen to us if we are faithful to Christ? By no means.
Christ calls us to take up our own crosses and follow him. It would be foolish to imagine that this would never include suffering.
Yet, no matter what, God cares for us and gives us grace and goodness beyond the imagination of those without faith.
And even if, God forbid, the worst does happen – even if we find ourselves in the pit we feared – the promises and the power of God are still there for us, as Saint Paul reminds us in today’s second reading (Romans 8:35, 37-39) in the midst of his own suffering and terror (as verse 36 –omitted in the Lectionary selection, but included below – reminds us):
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:
"For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced
that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.