Disillusionment runs rampant in our world today. In the world of politics, in the world of technology, in the world of entertainment, in every aspect of society we are given promises that tell us that the future is ours, and more importantly, that the day is ours, and that we should seize the day, seize the moment. We live in the "best" of times, and nothing can or will overcome us. And yet we struggle, we are in pain, we are alone and depressed, we are at wits end. The promises are hollow. The future is bleak. The strengths of society are weakened to a drastic point. I could go into loads of examples, but I won't.
Our faith is also based upon a promise - a promise of joy and happiness, of life and blessing. It is a promise that hinges on a relationship with the Son of God who is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our happiness is to be unending, our life is to be eternal, our joy is to be complete. And yet, we suffer, we struggle, we experience discouragement in our daily lives. There may even be moments when we complain that this is not what we signed up for, this is not what we expected. As Jeremiah in this weekend's liturgy says, we were "duped". If we live and proclaim the truth of the gospel then we should have an impact, we should make a difference and be respected - for everyone wants the truth. And yet, in proclaiming the truth we are often put upon and negated. On Friday we celebrated John the Baptist who lost his head trying to do the right thing, God's work. What did he do wrong? On Wednesday we remembered a good woman of faith who spent thirty-two years praying for her son, Augustine, and her husband to see the light, and every day being disappointed by their blindness. Did Monica question her persistence in prayer and her reliance upon the promise of her God year after year? Many of us live our lives to the best of our ability, trusting in God, and find ourselves suddenly caught up with cancer or heart problems or a devastating accident or another illness. Where is that promise of God?
We must remember that while we live in the here and now we are children of a kingdom greater than what this earth or its powers have to offer. We count the blessings in this moment, but we find our ultimate joy in a future existence. We come to understand that the way to that eternal life is not an easy way, a piece of cake, a beautiful rose garden ... rather it is through the cross, it is through death that we arrive at resurrection. It was necessary for Jesus to go this route out of love for us, and it is necessary for us to take up our cross and follow him. Only in that action can we truly understand and appreciate the depth of the promise and what eternal happiness and joy really is. He has shown us the way, he walks with us on our journey and he rejoices with us in the blessing of this moment, he comforts us in the dark moments of struggle and doubt, and he will rejoice for all eternity with us in the joy of heaven. Just like the prophet who felt duped, we recognize as well that our hearts burn within us as we contemplate his word and we are compelled to live the gospel and proclaim his name.
This weekend is a good moment to reflect upon our moments of doubt and the conquering reality of faith. Have a safe Labor Day weekend.