Homily for 4.13.14
HAS YOUR FAITH EVER BEEN SHAKEN?
The first question: Have you ever had your faith shaken to the core? Have you ever had a time when what you thought you believed was so shattered that…all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put the beliefs back together again?
"Then Jesus said to them, 'This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed; but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.'”Put simply: The disciples' own faith was about to be shaken to the foundation because the one in whom they placed that faith was about to be killed by State execution. And this, of course, is most generally how our faith is shaken? The one in whom we trust, the one in whom we believe for truth, direction and security for some reason falls or fails.
a crisis such as this can eventually lead to a strengthening of resolve within the center of our faith, if we so chooseSecond, a shaken faith clearly offers new a perspective, allowing us to jettison what may now be seen as dodgy beliefs and understandings. That is, a core crisis can strip away innocuous mindsets that are bloated or wrong-headed, leaving only the base essentials. And this gift of a toughened clarity is the real basis for moving forward to a deeper discipleship.
The second question: Have you ever prayed and gotten "NO" for your trouble? Of course you have; we all have. Just think about how many times have you taken your burden to the LORD, asking for relief or deliverance, only to be told in your soul that what is there confronting you must be experienced, that you must walk through that particular death valley?
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”It may be of some comfort that Jesus himself had this as a life experience, but probably this helps only moderately so because when we ourselves are in the fire it matters very little what others have thought or said or done, for now it is our pain, our grief, our loss.
"yet, not as I will, but as you will."The question is how do we arrive to the point of this kind of spiritual resignation? I must say, the air is very thin when we enter this kind of discipleship.
The final question is the most difficult of all to hear: Have you ever betrayed the LORD? Have you ever turned your back on the promises you made? Have you ever denied him to others? Have you ever broken faith with him?
Then Jesus said to them, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed; but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him in reply, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And all the disciples spoke likewise.Initially, this question reminds us that to follow Jesus as an informed, dedicated disciple — in contrast to a mere onlooker — means we have actually counted what that discipleship would cost us.
"Great crowds were following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, "If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters -- yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple." (Lk.14:25-26)It's like he is saying,
"Now, listen all you people! You don't understand! So let me explain what you are seeing. To follow me it costs you everything! It costs your most precious possession -- your future! So, if you can't give that for the Kingdom, turn around now!"Sadly, for some of us this was never explained upfront. We only learned afterward the cost of the Jesus-way. This fact alone can lead to a life-long struggle with faithfulness to the LORD and questions of loyalty and betrayal.
"but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee..."This is tremendous comfort. Jesus lets his men know where he will be after their failure! Far from writing them off, he accepts them in their failure and their shaken faith. He understands that,
"the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,"That is, Jesus recognizes that intention does not always produce follow-through.