How is it, today, that the psalmist can say to us, “I believed even when I said I am sorely afflicted” (Psalm 116:10)?
It seems more likely that we would put faith aside when we meet with misfortune.
Why should we maintain our faith when evil befalls us?
That dichotomy is not one lived by the psalmist. He chooses to keep faith in the midst of his affliction because of where he has placed his hope.
Psalm 116:11 says: “I said in my alarm ‘No one can be trusted.’” This verse implicitly reveals that the psalmist has not placed his hope in mere human beings, but in God. Humans fail, but God is always faithful.
Lent is a good time for us to examine where we have placed our hope.
Have we placed our hope in money, social systems, government or in friends and family?
If we have neglected to place our hope in God, then Lent is a great time to redirect our hope so that it may be in Christ and the mysteries that we celebrate during the Triduum. The central mystery of the Triduum is that God, made man, was sentenced to death, was crucified and buried: quite an affliction I’d say!
Yet, Jesus knew the Father so intimately that he trusted that the Father would raise him on the third day — and he did!
Die for new life in Christ
Therefore, for us who allow ourselves to be incorporated into Christ’s death, we can know by the revelation of the Paschal Mystery that we, too, will be raised up.
That is the essence of Christian hope — that even though we will die, if we die in Christ, we will live!
Thus, as Lent continues, allow the hunger pangs of fasting and the temptation of a plush cheeseburger on a Friday be opportunities for examining where you have placed your hope.
Then, in the silent room of your heart, invite the Holy Spirit in so as to make Jesus Christ your final hope.
Deacon Joe Backowski is in formation for the priesthood at The St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of St. Cloud. His home parish is Holy Family in Little Falls and his teaching parish is St. Andrew in Elk River.
Sunday, March 4
Second Sunday in Lent
• Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
• Romans 8:31b-34
• Mark 9:2-10
When have you put faith and hope in another person and place and been disappointed? Try letting God take over one thing for you this week.