This dramatic crisis in Johnís account of the life of Jesus (and probably in the life of his own community) as it is reflected by and reflects the Joshua story in the first reading is about faith, as are the stories in the other August Gospels.
It is easy to slip into the conviction that one ďhasĒ the faith until times of crisis and challenge come along Ė tragedy, suffering, and death.
Then one realizes that faith requires hard work and practice even in times when there is no particular challenge.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time there was a terrible tragedy.
Only two years after marriage a young husband died suddenly of an aneurysm. His wife, who loved him very much, was devastated. She was also furious. Why would God do this to her? Why had not the Church warned her about the possibility of tragedy when they were married, so she would have been prepared?
A priest tried as best he could to console her, but she would not listen. She was angry and she would not give up her anger. She stopped going to church, she stopped praying, she denounced the Church on every possible occasion. She had been a fine Catholic, strong in her faith, till her husband died. What good does faith do, she said. It didnít keep my husband alive.
So one night he came to her, perhaps in a dream, and said Iím ashamed of you, cut it out. So she did.
Very slowly she drifted back to Church. The pain would never go away but slowly her anger did.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the
afflicted hear and be glad.
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Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
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