We join the Apostles today in their plea—Lord, increase our faith!
Why? Mainly because we could also make the prophet Habakkuk’s words our own today as well:
I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.
These words of the prophet Habakkuk could be describing atrocities being committed around the world and even in pockets of our United States. We live these days a most delicate peace and a very vulnerable sense of wellbeing. So many reports in the media begin: “they just went to school that day,” ” they just went to church that day,” ” they just went to the mall that day.” And how many times a day do we need to hear the words, “this represents a threat to our national security”?
God’s answer to Habakkuk was “Write down the vision clearly…so that one can read it readily.” What vision? And why would this vision answer all of the hard questions? Well, our holy ancestors did not realize it at the time, but the vision was that of a “Promised One”—of a Messiah. Redemption by Jesus, sometimes from our own selves, is the saving remedy. For us, “New Testament People,” faith in Jesus—faith in his way and in his truth—is the answer to “violence on every side.” No wonder our Holy Father Francis is advocating worldwide encounter with Christ. That very encounter changes hearts and eliminates the need for guns or exploding vests.
Yes indeed, Lord, increase our faith! Increase MY faith! After all, it begins with us; our own transformation in Christ will touch and invite others to faith. Look how even a text message or a tweet can go viral. Even that word “viral” implies power to infect and spread. Just imagine: Contagious Faith!
Saint Paul. Now, there’s a man whose faith went viral and has endured more than two millennia. In the second reading he gives us the formula for success in overcoming “misery” and “clamorous discord”:
“Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.”
Let’s underscore that Holy Spirit part, because that’s the part that has the power to make faith and love viral. But first—we have to believe—we have to have THE VISION ever before us.