Friday, June 19, 2009

Faith Can conquer All Dificulties

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time Reflection
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
Reformed Catholic Church International of New England
Based on the readings from: Job 38:1, 8-11, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, Mark 4:35-41
“From the heart of the tempest the Lord gave Job his answer.”
These words taken from the first reading for the 12th Sunday of Ordinary time are a reminder that sometimes in the darkest moments of our lives; God is actually trying to send us a message.
The reading from the Gospel of Mark is also a lesson we need to keep always in the forefront of our minds and it is that Faith and trust in God will overcome all trials if we believe. The story is of how a strong gale sprung up and the apostles became afraid that the boat was about to sink while Christ as asleep in the stern. The apostle being terrified; “woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going to drown!’ Christ woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then Christ said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?” Far too often in our lives we become afraid and feel overwhelmed by the circumstances that surround us. I certainly can relate to that feeling when sometimes I wonder if I am making a difference in peoples lives and actually doing the Lord’s work especially when people rarely respond and so few seem to respond to our plea for donations to support the work of the ministry. It is in those times that God always seems to send me a message of affirmation by either a phone call or an email message, letter or a donation arrives.
Faith in God is the strongest weapon to sustain one in times of difficulty.
Without faith we often sink into deep hopelessness and depression because we feel alone and forgotten. God never forgets any of us. God is always there if we call upon Him and He will always answer us in the way that is in our best interests even if we do not see it that way. We need to call to mind the words from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians; “The love of Christ overwhelms us when we reflect that if one man has died for all, then all men should be dead; and the reason he died for all was so that living men should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life for them……therefore, we do not judge anyone by the standards of the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17) Just as the apostles feared that they were about to sink and drown in the storm because they were forgetting who was with them, we also often forget that God is there beside us if we but seek Him out in our hearts using faith as the device to call upon Him.
This past weekend I had the extreme pleasure to meet hundreds of people who seemed surprised but happy to find us at the Boston Pride Festival and loved our mission’s message of; GOD LOVES ME AS HE CREATED ME. All 800 of the stickers we had made up were gone before the day was half over. One female impersonator gave Bishop Mel and me a warm friendly embrace and a sincere “Thank You” for our message of affirmation. More than 30 people signed up to receive our weekly reflections and the Mission News Letter and many offered a small donation to help us spread the word of God’s Infinite Love for ALL His children regardless of their race, creed, nationality or sexual orientation.
With faith there is Hope. With Hope there are possibilities.
For much of my life I told people that my theme song was THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. It still is! My dream now is for a time that every human being on the face of the earth is treated with dignity and respect. I dream of a time when all Christian faiths will once again unite as one just as the early church was one. I dream of a time when all the hierarchy treat each other as equals and focus on directing the church according to the basics Christ taught in the SERMON ON THE MOUNT and as found in the CORPORAL AND SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY and not on how much power and wealth they can attain.
I have FAITH that one day, more than likely not in my lifetime, this will happen because it is the will of God and in God’s time, He will bring it to be. We humans forget that our time is not God’s time. God often is patient and allows us to have our way as a test. The first reading for this Sunday was from one of my favorite books of the Bible, the book of Job. In fact at one time in my life it was the Book of Job that saved me from self destructing and led me back to God and my service as a Deacon, Teacher and now priest. The book tells of how God allowed Satan to test Job’s actual faith and trust in God. Job lost everything he had even his family but he never gave up on God. As a reward, God gave Job back 10 times what he had before. The message for this week is; HAVE FAITH AND BELIEVE THAT GOD LOVES YOU AS HE CREATED YOU and will come when you call to Him. AMEN

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