No Faith Without Trust
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
“Honest, I won’t pull the football away this time.”
“That’s what you said last year.”
“But this time I’m telling you the truth. I’m really hurt that you won’t trust me.”
“Alright, alright; I’ll let you hold the ball; but don’t let me down, okay.”
Huff, huff, arrrrgh. Thud.
“Never again; never, ever again! I swear it; I’ll never believe her again – no matter what she says.”
Every year Lucy talked Charlie Brown into letting her hold the football while he kicked it. Every year she pulled it away at the last second. Every year Charlie Brown fell in angry ignominy. Every year millions of sympathetic readers smiled because they knew how Charlie felt. So many people beg for our trust, then let us down at the last second and watch us fall. We all hear “sucker” ring in our ears and blush at once angry and ashamed.
It’s hard enough when a bank or an oil company asks for our trust then betrays it. It’s devastating when a friend or a lover pulls the same trick. But when a church does it, someone claiming to speak God’s truth, something is snatched from our souls that no one can replace.
It is a sacred act to speak for God. To stand before a person and claim God’s truth is so central to a community’s health that is was protected by the second of the Commandments: before murder, before adultery, before even respecting the elders. Do not claim to speak God’s truth unless you speak it. As with all the commandments, the crucial consequence of not adhering to the rule is not simply destruction of the perpetrator; it is destruction of the community!
I’ve lost count of the number of Catholics who have told me that they no longer trust Church leadership. They may still trust this or that priest but the hierarchy as a whole has finally jerked the football away from them one too many times. This is extremely serious.
Without trust our church will not survive. For one another and for our world we all must immediately do everything possible to repair our credibility.