Bar 4 , 5-12, 27-29
Take courage, my people, memorial of Israel! You were sold to the nations, but not for extermination. You provoked God; and so were delivered to your enemies, since you had angered your Creator by offering sacrifices to demons, and not to God. You had forgotten the eternal God who reared you. You had also grieved Jerusalem who nursed you, for when she saw God’s anger falling on you, she said: Listen, you neighbours of Zion: God has sent me great sorrow. I have seen my sons and daughters taken into captivity, which the Eternal brought down on them.
I had reared them joyfully; in tears, in sorrow, I watched them go away. Do not, any of you, exult over me, a widow, deserted by so many; I am bereaved because of the sins of my children, who turned away from the Law of God, Take courage, my children, call on God: he who brought this on you will remember you. As by your will you first strayed from God, so now turn back and search for him ten times harder; for as he has been bringing down those disasters on you, so will he rescue you and give you eternal joy.
Trust in God is a key concept of how the relationship with God can unfold its full fertility. The invitation to trust is spoken of God in a situation of grave suffering for the people of Israel. Israel should become conscious of their election and never forget that they are God’s people and what God has done to his people, as God attracted them in love.
The sufferings it endures are the consequences of the apostasy of God. God lets the people feel just for the sake of his love what it means to leave him and turn to the idols. Instead of serving the Lord, they have fallen into the pitfalls of the demons and thus obscured in the knowledge of God.
Overall, we humans have a hard time trusting God and even more so when we are in need. One of the grave consequences of the loss of Paradise is that we have lost our natural intimate relationship with God and have to regain it. But that is exactly what God invites us to do, and many texts in the New Testament speak of it. Especially in the person of the Lord, who gave his life for us, we are shown how much God loves his people and how he is ready to go to the utmost in his love. Here trust can emerge anew in a great depth.
Gaining trust in God and allowing to grow each day helps us to better understand and accept all that happens to us. This is especially true in unmanageable and painful situations. They will not always be as clear to us as it is set forth today by the Lord through His prophet. Many situations can remain in the dark, far beyond the personal dimension. But it is important to realize the basic message of the text in all situations, when the need is oppressive: “Have faith, my children, cry to God.”
Not a few Catholics are worried about the church today. Some realize that a spirit of confusion is spreading and wondering the causes. However, then come often the most different assumptions and interpretations, many contradict each other directly.
Other Catholics do not notice the confusion.
It will probably always be like this. Not everyone notices the danger of wolves entering the flock. They then need shepherds to warn them and show them how to handle the dangers. It is very difficult, however, when those who are called into a pastoral ministry themselves become confused, do not recognize or play down the dangers, and therefore make them invisible to the flock entrusted to them.
Here the word of God becomes a great counselor for the faithful.
With regard to the Church, we can trust that God will carry her through the present crisis. It is his church and he lets the confusion happen only as far as it becomes visible and to understand. It becomes a test of faith, whether we cling to our traditional faith or be drawn into areas that are alien to our sacred beliefs and ultimately influenced by the demons.
The situation of the Church is a grave sorrow, specially for those who notice the confusion. In the midst of this suffering, which may become even greater, one should not lose faith in God, but renew and deepen it. Certainly, the current confusion of the church is also a consequence of many sins, a consequence of turning away from God’s ways, a consequence of the weakening of the faith, the unreflected devotion to this world, and much more.
Again, the word of God has some advice for us.
If we can apply the lamenting of Jerusalem in the above text as the wailing of our Mother Church over the unhealthy state, then we hear the word of a tenfold eagerness to turn back and seek God. That would be an answer for the believers suffering in the present state of the Church: calling in trust to God and multiplying their own efforts to do God’s will. Maybe then God will shorten the time of trials, and there will come again a time of breathe.