I skimmed the October 6, 2013 readings before Mass as is my usual pre-Mass custom. In my infinite idiocy, I thought, Man, God is really playing with these people today. It seemed as first glance God was dangling the bait of His salvation in front of Habakkuk and keeping it just out of reach.
I had the memory of my older brothers holding the baseball or football out to me and then pulling it out of my reach just as my young self went for the grab. They’d jeer and taunt my futile attempts to grab the ball. And I, as always, would end up a blubbering ball of goo on the ground, lamenting my pain through tears and cries for help (not unlike Habakkuk in his plea to the Lord).
In his sermon, our pastor, Fr. Larry Grennan, gave us a simple statement which made the meaning of these readings crystal clear and not simply an exercise in the torment of man. Fr. Grennan said, “The readings today can be summarized in one word: ENCOURAGEMENT.”
The bell rang inside my head and there was light inside the recesses of my brain where there was once only dark. I grabbed the missal from the rack in front of me and did a quick re-read. How could I have been so far off in my original interpretations? The message was not about the desire for the unattainable; the message was 100% encouragement.
Luke, Paul, and Habakkuk are telling us not to get discouraged. They are telling us God’s path for each of us is not an easy road. Pain, trial, hardship, and disappointment are all a part of the journey, so we need to keep our heads up and fight our way through.
Fortunately for us, God is always there with the encouragement; He WANTS us by His side on Heaven’s Mountain. He is always there to help us move forward and stay on the path; we just need to place our trust in Him.
In Jesus’ own words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Copyright © 2013, Mike Hays