Reflection for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Member, Carolyn Townes
This reflection was originally posted in our September 26th newsletter
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
In our world today, we have become overwhelmed and perhaps even desensitized to the news of violence and blood-shed. We wonder when it will end and pray to God for the violence to end. In this Sunday’s readings, we hear the Prophet Habakkuk cry out to God because of the violence going on around him. The Prophet continues to cry out to though God does not intervene. Yet God was not blind to the destruction nor deaf to the cries of the Prophet. God told Habakkuk to have faith and hold on.
Because we are so focused on the storms of violence, we have forgotten that we are people of faith. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we were not given a spirit of fear and cowardice, but we have been endowed with the power of faith. Yes, there continues to be violence and destruction, but as people of prayer and faith, we can overcome the misery of the world by remembering the power that lives on the inside of us.
Like the apostles, we want an increase of faith, not recognizing the faith we already have. Greater is He that lives on the inside of us than he that lives in this world of destruction. We have already been given the gift of faith; yet, we tend to wallow in the spirit of fear and that is what contributes to the world’s fear. This week, we commemorate the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, who also witnessed the violence and destruction in his day. As followers and friends of St. Francis, we are called to walk in the light of faith as instruments of peace, love and justice. Pope Francis wrote in Lumen Fidei: “The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.”
As we have been given a spirit of power, love and self-control, let us exercise our human existence by living out our gift of faith in a powerful way. Remember where in your life you do apply your faith: when you leave your home every day, you have the faith that you will return to it. When you order food from a restaurant, you have faith that you will receive your meal. When you step into your car, you have faith that you will safely reach your destination. Do not allow a spirit of fear and cowardice to overtake you, but step into the light of your gift of faith.
Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
U.S. Secular Franciscan Order
FAN Board Member