Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:    Joshua 24:2-2, 15-18;    Ephesians 5:21-32;    John 6:60-69

If asked “Do you believe?  Are you and your family people of faith?”  We would most readily share, “Sure I believe, sure I am a person of faith!”

But as life gets in the way, with all that can and often does go wrong…  With the suffering and injustice and hate, that is part of the lives of others and even our own.

With the business of life that keeps us, at times, from doing the good or the right we espouse.  How are our actions, our lives, really saying:  “As for me and our household we will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

Let me share two examples:

+ There was a story I heard this week about an American woman who was taken hostage about 2 years ago by ISIS.  Time and time again, she was asked, maybe better said demanded to renounce her Christian faith.  But in the face of torture and so much more – refused time and time again to renounce her Christian faith.

Makes you wonder how we might response to such a situation?

+ Then in the past few days, we hear that former President Jimmy Carter has brain cancer.  Jimmy Carter has always been known to be a person of faith and this came out again, as he shared with the media on Thursday his diagnosis.

Jimmy Carter spoke about the peace he has had in dealing with the diagnosis and now with the treatment.  And as a person of 90 years of age, he spoke not of regrets (except one), but of all the opportunities he has had over the years to assist people.  That one regret was in not freeing the hostages in Iran for 444 days (Nov. 4, 1979 thru Jan. 20, 1981)   Said the President, “If I had sent in one more helicopter, in the failed attempt to rescue the Iran hostages.”  He then added, that he would have been re-elected had the effort succeeded.

Jimmy Carter shared he would be cutting back dramatically on his schedule but planned to continue teaching Sunday School at his Church.   (and we struggle to get health people to teach Faith Formation)

Said the former President, “I am perfectly at peace with whatever comes.  Now I feel this in the hands of God.  I am ready for anything and looking forward to a new adventure.”

It seems to me, President Carter can be at ease and at peace with this serious condition not because he is old, but rather that he has grown in the faith, grown in his love of God and others.  Said the 90 year old President, “I have had an exciting and venturous and gratifying existence.”

“As for me and our household we will serve the Lord.”

“Master, to whom shall we go?   You have the words of Eternal Life.    We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Like the woman hostage, like President Carter, like other people of true faith we know or will get to know.  May our lives increasingly give witness to the faith we profess each day; to the centrality of God in all that we do and all that we are every day.