We here at Christ the King have definitely had our challenges since...well even before my arrival. Where will a full-time priest live? How much can we afford? Do we build or do we rent? Many more questions came up as well. But together, we have pulled together and made our parish something to be very proud of. New offices, storage in the basement and a new rectory! With some doubt that this was even possible, just 8 months later we have a completed building. My prayer from the beginning has been if this is meant to be, make it so Father. And he answered generously! I have been so grateful and at the same time proud of how Christ the King has bonded together. From the giving of phase 1, to the continued support of phase 2 and for all the house supplies that have been dropped off. In reading the Gospel for this 19th week in Ordinary time, I can understand where the doubt came from. Our Gospel story from Matthew, helps us see just how our own fears, our own attitudes and doubt, hinder the amazing love of God. That love to nurture us, to help us grow, to look into the future.
Early in the story we hear how the boat, filled with disciples is a few miles from shore being tossed about by the waves. The disciples catch sight of something or someone approaching them ... appearing to be walking toward them on the water. They naturally ... become terrified ...and the first thing that comes to their minds is, “It is a ghost.”
For some reason, they could not imagine that it was the Lord Jesus who was coming to them across the sea. They seem to be completely unprepared for this kind of encounter ... but somehow consider a “ghost” to be a reasonable possibility. And yet, think about it for a minute. They had already seen Jesus do all sorts of incredible things. They had seen him heal the sick. They had seen him feed the five thousand with just five loaves and two fish. And remarkably, they had even been with Jesus in a boat during a storm before, and had seen Jesus calm the storm. In other words, they had seen Jesus do all sorts of “miraculous” things, and yet they couldn’t imagine that it was HE who was coming to “save them” once again.
Don’t we sometimes do the same? Something happens in our lives which causes us pain or distress or makes us afraid and it becomes all we can focus on. It gets all of our attention, and not in a healthy way, but in an all-consuming kind of way. Weighing us down, changing the way we react to others around us and changing our whole persona. And what happens? What is often the result? We resist. We think we are in the right and everyone else is in the wrong. We begin to resent and hate. We even talk badly about others.
But Jesus is telling us that if we trust in him, totally trust, he will lift us out of the water and help us along the way. He knows we will doubt, many doubted this new construction would happen, but if it is meant to be then he will take care of the rest. Somehow, he will provide. And provide he does.
My friends, I have doubted plenty in my life. I doubted I could ever make it through 6 years of seminary to obtain a Masters degree, I doubted that I was being called to the priesthood. I’ve doubted that I could present and lead retreats, I’ve doubted that I make any difference at all. But through it all, I have always asked God for his guidance. I’ve always tried to stay sincere in what God is asking of me. I’ve promised him that when doors open, I will walk through them; unafraid, willing and with an open heart. For I truly know that when I turn things over to him, they go much smoother. Surrender is never easy, but our faith allows us to trust that God is there lifting us up whenever we need it.. Have a blessed week and see you at the picnic!