At times it may be feel easy to have a clear and strong faith… things in our lives may be going to plan and we can feel truly “blessed” and be thankful for God for all we have in our lives. Life is not always this simple and at it is inevitable that faith will challenge us, we can also feel abandoned and very much alone in dealing with the trials and tribulations ahead of us.
The theme for this week is “trials” and the readings in this week were of stark contrast.
In the second reading we hear probably one of the most famous readings, the letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, “Love is patient and kind… in short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.” If you are due to go to a Christian wedding it is highly likely this will be sneaked in at some point, it was at our wedding celebrations! We can fall into a trap that suggests that love simply gives us this warm feeling deep inside. Christian love, or agapé, can be far more challenging than this and we may be called to do some really difficult things because they are right and just. We will find this perhaps personally or professionally as we try to live out a life of faith.
Perhaps this is where the link lies with the Gospel account. Jesus has returned to Nazareth following his baptism and starts preaching in the synagogue. Initially they were impressed by the way He spoke but as they listened they found they did not like what they were to hear. Jesus taught about how God reached out not just to the Jews, God’s chosen people, but to Gentiles too. This was outrageous to those that listened and they dragged Jesus from the temple up to a cliff in an attempt to throw Him over – during the ensuing drama he escaped and slipped through the crowd. Clearly being true to our faith isn’t about sharing an easy popular message or being liked.
In short I believe we can choose to live with a positive and loving attitude trusting in God’s plan for us. We need to aim to discern our faith and think of how to live out our Christianity to those around us. When we seek God in the helpless situations we can often find Him close to us in the people who reach out to us in times of need. I hope all of us can trust in this and also live our lives looking to do the right and loving thing, irrespective of whether it is hard, challenging or unpopular.