Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Comforting Hand of Belief

Again St. John touches upon human weakness and the challenge of faith.  Even the works, the miracles, the teachings, the care shown by Jesus in his public life do not turn hearts to him and his Father.  Again, in John's account of Jesus' activities, we hear him say that those who follow him and believe are true "hearers of the Word."  They are his flock and the Father's flock.

What a powerful sentence in today's gospel reading:  "No one can take them out of my hand....  and no one can take them out of my Father's hand."  Belief in him has the reward of always being protected within his hand.

Imagine yourself holding a small bird, a baby squirrel or another animal that is frightened.  You teach the animal to trust you be ever so gently stroking the animal.  You probably utter a few comforting words.  You will know the moment when the animal crosses that line from fear and unknowing into the world of trust and care.  How do you feel at that time?  Perhaps you might think:  "By what I have done, I have forged a new bond of unity with the animal."  For me, when I accomplished this transformation with a canary I treasured, there was a genuine sense of satisfaction.  I tried to imagine how that bird's emotions must have taken over and allowed him to believe trust and believe I would not hurt him.
Are we not invited to a similar journey from disbelief to genuine belief that Jesus is God and what he teaches is gentle stoking to assure me that if I trust, if I believe, he will always be there for me.  He and his Father will always hold me in the protection of their hands.  What a promise!

And, if I do believe, how does my accepting and living with the sometimes mysterious words and actions of Jesus impact my daily life?