God’s Word Is Good
Thoughts on the Second Readings – Joe Frankenfield
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20
Rain was dripping from a gray March sky several years ago when a student walked into my office and plopped in a chair. “Last night I decided I have to live as though there’s a God, whether there is one or not. It’s the only way I can have any hope what I do makes any difference. On a really good day just trying to make things better works as its own reward. But there are too many tiresome days like this to make it with only an intellectual reason for getting fired up. Most days I need to really believe that what I’m doing will make a difference not just for me but for other people.
“And I really hope there is a God because winter lasts way too long around here and I’m not that good at pretending.”
I had to laugh. I knew he wrestled with this issue more, or more vocally, than most. But he was a very honest guy who needed things to make sense. His decision was so human – kind of sad, but very human. He wanted to make sense of his faith.
Why would Paul have said that if God hasn’t raised Jesus from death, our faith is empty? Millions of people have faith in God who know nothing or care nothing about Jesus’ resurrection.
The fact is that we know God’s love and promise through Jesus: God’s presence in our world. If God has allowed the good life Jesus lived to simply end denying him his role in the world he revealed, Jesus’ life failed and the ground of our faith is empty. We can differ in how we explain it. We can differ in how we imagine it. But if God wasn’t faithful to Jesus past life as we know it, then God has no meaning for us.
We need a meaningful God, a God who lives up to his promise and our hopes. There’s no faith without that. None of us are that good at pretending.