The 27th Sunday of the Year

Hab 1:2-3 & 2:2-4; 2 Tim 1:6-8 & 13-14; Lk 17:5-19 (year c)

 ‘How long, Lord, am I to cry for help while you will not listen; to cry ‘oppression’ in your ear and you will not save?” The complaint of Habakkuk voiced Israel’s mounting anxiety as she was overshadowed by the threat of Babylon’s encroaching power. Israel had indeed sinned, but now, through the prophet, she had turned to God. But in this, the darkest night of her history, was God listening to his people?

The response, written down in Habakkuk’s vision, was not so much an answer as a call to patient faith: “The upright man will live by his faithfulness.”

We frequently pray for answers and solutions, especially as we face the crises that life inevitably brings. Like the prophet, we can see no end to our pain, only the assurance that the upright man will live by his faithfulness.

Ultimately this patient trust in God alone formed in Israel’s consciousness the expectation of a new kind of Messiah, a suffering servant who would both hear and share in the pain of his people. It is in the crucified Christ that we begin to understand a faith that is not an escape from pain, but rather the grace that enables us to trust in the Father alone.

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