Living 2000 years after the Gospel stories took place, we can often find ourselves a bit removed from them as we read them. Struggling to relate to the context in which they were written we may find them difficult to delve into. Just recently I had the privilege of being introduced to Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion Series. These three fictional novels take place in the years following the death of Christ. Brilliantly written, they made scripture come to life as with the turn of each page I was introduced into the lives of those living post Christ’s death and resurrection: their trials, their temptations, their courage, and their conversions. With her attention to detail and historical accuracy, I found myself enlightened with a greater understanding of the context in which the scriptures were written and first revered, as well as deeply and utterly hungry for the Word of God. I strongly recommend them…
I am currently working my way through the Gospel of Luke. At the moment, Jesus has turned back towards Jerusalem, back towards imminent death. Yet, our Lord journeys determined and steadied by his divine understanding of who he is and all he has come to do. Throughout the three days it takes him to reach the holy city, he speaks endless parables to his disciples. Final words of wisdom, rebukes, pleas for repentance. Following several such parables and teachings regarding the return of the Son of Man, or the end of times, Jesus poses a halting question:
“Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Lk 18:8)”
Heaven help us. I sure hope so! But, will he? How many of us truly take the Gospels to heart any more? How many of us truly believe anymore in the words Jesus spoke. Of a true Heaven, an eternal life, a merciful God, a day of just judgement, our tendency towards sin, our capacity for charity, Heaven and Hell, angels and demons, good versus evil, life versus death: “I call heaven, and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse…Therefore CHOOSE life…” Deuteronomy 30:19
It is indeed a choice and the choice is ours. Pope Benedict XVI has called for a Year of Faith in the Church. A year to delve into the depths of what we believe and emerge from those depths with not only a greater understanding of God and our faith, but also an insatiable hunger for that faith to burst into action in our lives. To not only believe the Gospel, but to LIVE it.
That when Christ comes again to separate the wheat from the chaff, the goats from the sheep, the good from the evil, that we will be ready and the Son of Man will indeed “find faith on earth.”