Biblical meditation: Believing in the middle of the night, in joy

Sunday August 7, 2022, four texts will be read.
First reading Book of Wisdom (Wis 18, 6-9).
Psalm 32.
Second reading Letter to the Hebrews (Heb 11, 1-2.8-19).
The Gospel according to Saint Luke (Lk 12, 32,48).

Luke 12, 32-48

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid, little flock: your Father
has seen fit to give you the Kingdom.

Sell ​​what you own and give it away.
Make yourself purses that don’t wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in the heavens,
where the thief does not approach, where the moth does not destroy.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Stay in service dress, your belt
around the loins, and your lamps lighted.
Be like people waiting for their master
on his return from the wedding, to open to him as soon as he arrives
and knock on the door. Blessed are those servants
that the master, on his arrival, will find watching.

Amen, I tell you: it is he who, the belt
around the kidneys, will make them sit at the table
and will pass by to serve them. If he returns around midnight
or around three o’clock in the morning and he finds them thus, happy are they! (…)

You too, get ready: it’s on time
where you will not think that the Son of man will come. » (…)

To whom much has been given, much will be asked;
to whom much has been entrusted, more will be demanded. »

The gift of faith

“To whom much has been given, much will be asked. To whom much has been entrusted, more will be demanded. » What has been abundantly given, largely entrusted, is faith. Not primarily our own, but the faith of Christ, the trust of God in every man. By extension, we all received the possibility of trusting, of believing in the promise of another. It is not primarily a privilege, but a gift for others. This is how the first believers (the Fathers) mentioned in the Book of Wisdom saw from afar “the night of the Easter deliverance”. They believed it ” in joy “ adds the author of this book.

It is no small matter to believe in night and in joy. Abraham left with his son, believing that God was asking for his blood, but something in him still believed that God did not want death, that he was asking for his son and not his blood. A son is never a possession. By discovering it, Abraham learns to believe and also discovers that deep down God is sovereignly free, stronger than his strength, and disconcerting. To believe in the night is thus to put your finger on the vulnerability of God, who chooses not to use force to convince the strong, and lets his people go their way through twists and turns, lets them get lost, without leave it, without letting go.

The intimate knowledge of the heart

“Faith is a means of knowing realities that we do not see”, announces to us the epistle to the Hebrews. This intimate knowledge of the heart, Jeremiah the prophet exposes it to the eyes of all when in exile (knowing that he will not return) he buys a field in the promised land so that those who will follow him find a house. Faith is thus being ready for others, for others elsewhere or others later.

Luke, in his Gospel, associates faith with watching. Believing and watching go hand in hand. Those who trust, including and especially when there is no reason to believe, watch for the opportune moment, the right occasion, the favorable situation in which to act so that trust can once again unfold. And the one who watches takes on his night and accepts detours because he hopes that something or someone will come, because each moment can be the door through which the Messiah enters History. And behold, Moses deviates from his path, because a bush burns without being consumed, and God enters into his life, into that of his people and into ours. As for Abraham, he goes, “without knowing where he was going”.

“To believe is to believe that Christ believes in us”

Do we know where we are going? Nothing less certain these days. But it has been given to us to listen to a full and lively word, that of an only son who at the hour when he was betrayed watches and believes. He watches over the night of the Easter deliverance, and speaks to his Father, assuring him that his friends, the very ones who are sleeping and are going to leave him, have believed in him, and have kept his word. The unique faith of the Son is to believe in us more than ourselves. This is what was given to us. To believe is to believe that Christ believes in us.

With this strength, we have nothing to fear from our own vulnerabilities. But we are indebted for this courage that he offers us and have the duty to lay our fears at his feet and try to believe, including in the night. The faith of Christ carries ours. “Do not be afraid little flock, your Father has seen fit to give you the Kingdom. » Even when it is dark, there could be a real source of joy there.

Anne Lecu is Dominican. She practices medicine in prison. She is the author of This is my body, You consecrated me with a perfume of joy and, in 2020, Our father, published by Editions du Cerf.

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Biblical meditation: Believing in the middle of the night, in joy

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