The Risk of Faith
Thoughts on the Second Readings by J. Frankenfield
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 12:7-10

A while back I attended a children’s piano recital. The kids walked on stage full of nerves, worked their way through their pieces, then bowed and, summoning all their self-control, forced themselves to walk rather than skip into the wings on the cloud of relief they were feeling.

When all the performances were complete the room filled with applause and parents’ assurances that the music was amazing, wonderful and very nearly, if not absolutely, perfect. What captured my attention, however, wasn’t the music but the fact that the children had agreed to perform in the first place and to do so in a room full of adults. I found it astounding.

A friend once asked me how he could know for sure that he had faith. I reminded him that he has gotten out of bed that morning. To his response that I was being more than usually inane I told him that I thought the essence of faith is giving oneself to life with no proof that it’ll make any difference.

Everyone has ample reason to fear that their efforts to improve life, to accomplish something of lasting value, to make a difference are dicey at best and probably doomed to failure. But faith that God works through her moves a person to give life her all in spite of the seeming odds that it will matter little.

This is what Paul was getting at when he boasted of his weaknesses. To acknowledge one’s shortcomings and ineptness as well as others’ and still spend oneself to advance life is the greatest honor and praise that one can give the Creator. There is no higher praise of God’s power and goodness; no greater hymn to his love.

Like kids walking on stage full of misgivings we offer our world the best we have counting on God to make it enough.

God will. We have his Word.