Pastoral Message – November 7, 2021
Blessings and peace to you!
One beautiful weekend, a young man decided to go hiking. While walking near the edge of a cliff, he tripped and fell into an abyss. Luckily, he was able to grab hold onto the roots of a big tree. He clung tightly to the roots as he hung between life and death. He called out for help: “Is anyone up there? Please help me!” From the sky, a voice responded: “I am your God. I am here to help you.” “Thank you, God!” the man said. “Please, tell me what I should do!” God answered, “Release your hand and I will catch you.” After a second thought, the young man called out again: “Is there anyone else up there to help me?”
Faith is believing in something that our eyes don’t see, our ears don’t hear, our hands don’t touch; but it will be tested. As Christians, our faith is being tested everyday whether we are aware of it or not. For example, in confronting the economic crisis, some of us might lose our houses and jobs. At this difficult time, God still invites us to do charitable works and to have faith in Him more than before. So, whether we respond to God in what way, “Sorry God, I have so little, I don’t think I can help anybody!” Or “Although I have so little, but I am still happy to share what I have with my brothers and sisters, because I believe in you, Lord.”
In the same way, we can imagine the attitude and the difficulty how the widows in the readings today make their decision in putting their trust in God. Both the widows, the widow in the first reading who gives the prophet Elijah her last cake, and the widow in the Gospel who gives her two coins into the temple of God, are good examples.
These are models, not only of generosity, but of faith. By faith, both the widows gave all they had in cheerfulness, with trust, faith, and depending on God. The value of a gift is not necessarily assessed by its quantity. But what is more important is the heart of the giver which is self-sacrificing. The widows give out of their poverty and not out of their wealth. They believe God will take care of their future needs.
God protects those who persevere in their living faith. Reflecting on the decisions that we have made in our lives, what we choose to do for ourselves and others, we will realize how much faith we have in God. There will, of course, be times that our minds and hearts are troubled, confused, and even despondent because we do not know what to do or what to believe. But there is one thing for us to learn and remember: how to trust in God.
During these difficult and dramatic moments of crisis and peril, we can learn how to let go of so many kinds kind of attachment or obstacle and let God catch and hold us at the end of the deep valley.
Blessings and peace!
Fr. Thanh-Tai Nguyen