Faith or Fear?

Little White Book, Saturday 3/29

Today’s Gospel (Mk 16:9-15) tells us of how the faithful disciples of Jesus were hesitant to believe in the Resurrection until confronted with hard evidence.  The reflection in the LWB talks of the context of Mark’s writing, being that the Christians had just gone through torture and persecution under Nero.  It claims that there were many Christians who, after denying their faith to save their own bacon, wanted readmission into the Christian community.  As the reflection concludes:

Mark wanted to remind them that the disciples failed too — including Peter.  But they were able to emerge from failure to greatness, even giving their lives in martyrdom.  We can all think of our failures.  And we can all take heart from Mark — he meant his Gospel for us too.

In the context of today being Divine Mercy Sunday, I kind of take this as being a sign that God wants us to know of His mercy, and not that he wants to squish us for our weaknesses and times of unbelief.  If you think back to the story of the 1 bad sheep and the 99 good sheep — this is like that.  How happy is He about these who repent of their denial of Him, and return to the church?  He wants us to come home.  Not by any means to say that one can just go around denying Jesus — that this is okay, for certainly it is not.  He was crucified, died, was buried, descended into Hell, was resurrected and ascended into heaven — for ME (and you).  If He cannot die, and He loves me so very much, what use have I in being afraid of whatever anyone might do to me here on earth?

Bold words, eh?  He knows that I’m scared — all the time.  I would like to think that I would have enough personal integrity to do the right thing, but I also know that I’m not always the strongest person, and that I’m afraid of pain, and that I doubt.  Not necessarily that I doubt Him, but that I doubt myself and my decisions.  It is one thing to know the correct answer or response, and quite another to actually live it out.

I pray that I will not be tested as those early Christians were tested, but failing that, that God would give me the grace and strength to live with personal integrity to my faith.  And I pray, too, that despite my weaknesses and failings, that God will grant me His mercy, if I but continue to repent and seek Him out.  Please Lord, keep me on Your path.

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