Monday, December 13, 2010

Making Sure

“John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” Luke 7: 18b-19

Have you ever had doubts about anything? I thought so. Ever have doubts about God? Or His Real Presence in the Eucharist? Or where He might be leading you? I think most people have.

Take St. John the Baptist for instance. He was preparing the way for the Lord. He was living in the desert, eating bugs and honey, wearing nothing but animal skins, preaching repentance and baptizing people left and right. And lots of people came to hear his message—from the lowliest Jew to the highest Pharisee. The people were hungry for God and St. John witnessed this hunger first hand. Then one day, his cousin Jesus walks up to him and asks to be baptized. While doing this, out of nowhere, a dove hovers over Jesus’ head and a voice rings out from the heavens telling the people to listen to this man. St. John obviously heard this voice and saw the dove.

And yet it is obvious that he still needed to make sure that Jesus was the Messiah. Why? Well, think about his circumstances. Shortly after baptizing Jesus, he was arrested by King Herod and put in prison. Keep in mind that prison in those days was not like it is now—there was no TV or books, no exercise yard, no meals cooked in a cafeteria. There were no rights for the prisoner, no “innocent until proven guilty”. There was no cell with a little bed and pillow; not even a comfy orange jump suit to wear. It was just you, a cold, wet, hard rock floor with the same for walls and a ceiling. If you were lucky you might have a small, shadowy window. St. John probably got very little to eat or drink and all he had to do was pray and think for hours upon hours until sleep would over take him each day. He had to also have known that very few people, once imprisoned, were released still alive.

So he wanted to make sure that everything he was doing and everything he did and everything he was going to sacrifice, was worth it. He wanted to make sure that Jesus really was the Savior. He wanted to know he was not going to die for nothing. He needed hope. Can you relate? And this coming from the man that Jesus called the greatest who ever lived.

I don’t think that God gets upset with our doubts or our fears. I don’t think He minds our repeated requests for assurance that He is real, that Jesus is the Savior or that we are in need of hope. In fact, I think He longs to fill us with that hope and assurance each day. But I think we need to live our lives as if we have that assurance, even when we don’t. And this, my friends, is called faith.

Dear Jesus, I believe, help my unbelief. Amen.

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