Confidence during Chaos
by Father Charles Irvin, M.Div, J.D.
Firestorms, Storms at Sea, Famine,
Poverty, and Terrible Perils – all appear in today’s Readings.
In our times we face Rogue Nations building Nuclear
Weapons, Terrorism, Suicide Bombers,
Fanatic Fundamentalists randomly Bombing and
Killing innocent People riding on Subways and Buses. In our own Personal Lives we face other
Disasters – Cancer, Terrible Diseases, Loved Ones on
Drugs, Alcoholism in our families,
Sudden Divorces, Business Collapses, Loss of Jobs,
and so forth. We find our own lives surrounded by Chaos, the Winds of Change and the
Earthquakes of our times changing our Social Order and National Culture. Only One (1) in
Four (4) Households today have the typical arrangement of Mom and Dad living together at Home with their
children. Stated another way, only One (1) in Four (4) children
find themselves in typical, normal Homes.
Drugs, AIDS, Absent
Fathers, Divorce, an Unstable Employment Market, and a
surrounding Culture that's Alien and Hostile to the Normal Family are
the Earthquakes and our Storms that threaten us.
Child Abuse, Pornography, Sexual Wantonness, and a
Blatant Media Exploitation of Sex and Violence for Money,
Assault the Moral Character of our Youngsters and Tear Away the
Fabric of Normalcy. Teen Gangs roam our big city streets at-Will, while our Metropolitan Law Enforcement Agencies operate in apparent
Powerlessness to take-back-control of our Cities from the Pimps,
Prostitutes, Pushers, and Gangs that rule the streets.
Where, it is asked, is God in all of this? The answers we hear are many and varied.
“It’s God’s Will”, we are told. There is no God, others tell us.
Some ask: “If God is such a good God, why does He allow such things to happen?” Others tell us that
God is a Myth constructed by Weak-Minded People to help prop
themselves up in the face of Suffering, Disaster and
Loss. “How”, some ask, “can you believe
in a God that allows such things to happen?”
What should we believe? What should we think in this Moral Storm that surrounds us?
To 'Answer', I take you back to the beginning-of-things, to the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis. There we find
God creating Order out of Chaos.
He pushes back the Boundaries of Chaos into Order, to create an Ordered and Purposeful
Universe. Then God goes on to invest us with the Dignity and the Task of joining with
Him in bringing Creation-to-Completion. He charges us to work
with Him in pushing-back the Boundaries of Chaos.
He puts His Faith in us to work with
Him in overcoming all that would Smother Life, charging us to be His Stewards over the
World He has Made and Given over to us. Instead of Questioning God,
perhaps we should ask ourselves this Question: “How well have we Cooperated with God?”
New Testament we find God in His Christ entering into our
Broken World to share His Presence with us.
Christ Jesus, God the Son, not only enters into our Broken
World but also Himself Suffers in it.
God’s Involvement, God’s Presence, is with us as we face
Sin and Suffering. God is
not a Disinterested and Aloof God – He shares with
us all that we face in a Dislocated and Incomplete World.
it is that we find Peter in today’s Gospel Account walking on our World’s Stormy Waters.
Peter relied on God’s Presence in Christ – he was walking
toward Christ keeping his eyes Fixed on Christ. The Greater Thing
was that Peter was not so much walking on those Storm-Tossed waters, as he was
keeping-his-eyes-fixed on Christ and was walking toward Him.
But while Peter was making his way to Christ, Disaster
struck. And what was that Disaster? Peter allowed Fear to
take a hold of his Heart. Fear made him Divert his Attention
away-from Christ and he became Fixated on the Stormy Waters.
All of us need to Pay-Attention to our Fears. But we must remember that
Fear controls our Choices more than any other Force in our lives. Think of the Decisions you have
made, the Actions you have taken, that were based more on Fear than on
Confidence, Choices that were based more on Fear than on
Love. Fear is a Powerful Tool in the hands of the Evil
One. Fear is one of the Greatest Weapons of the Devil.
Mind you, I am not talking about 'Questions'. In the Mind of
Jesus, it is Fear that is the 'Opposite' of Faith,
not Doubt. 'Questions' are 'Quests'. People who Question have
Faith that there is an Answer; they believe that there is an Answer to their Question.
Fear, on the other hand, brings with it Despair. That is the Opposite of
Faith, not 'Questioning'.
Confidence is the word we need to take into our Hearts
and Souls today. Confidence!
Confidence comes from a Latin word that means, “to believe with”. We cannot have
Confidence when we're Isolated and all Alone. We cannot have Confidence
all by ourselves. No, we can only have Confidence when there's Another near us.
And that's the point of today's Readings. One can find Confidence, even in the
Worst of Storms, even in the most Chaotic of Earthquakes. You
can go through the Worst that life can throw at you only IF you keep up your Contact with
God. No Prayer? No Confidence!
No coming to Mass? No Confidence! No sharing
in the Life of the Church, in the Body of Christ? No
Confidence! Soon you'll take your eyes off of Jesus, and just
like Peter, you'll Sink. Soon you'll only be able to hear the Screaming
Wind, the Awful Noise, and the Deafening Roar of the
Storms and Winds that shake the very Foundations of your life.
And without the Voice of God and the Eyes of Jesus to hold you
Steady, you'll either be Blown Away or you'll Drown.
Confidence, con-fidere, means to 'believe-with'. To 'believe-with'
whom? With Jesus. “Place not your trust in men who have
power”, says the Psalmist in Psalm 146, “or in any mortal man. He cannot save, he yields
his breath and goes back to the earth from whence he came, and on that day all his scheme shall perish”.
Where is God in all of this? He is here.
He is here in His Christ. Do we have
Faith? If so, we will have the Confidence and the Strength
that comes with Christ’s Presence in our lives. With that we can face anything Life