False Faith


Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

1 Sam 4: 1-11: Mk 1: 40-45

Dc. Larry Brockman

False Faith!  That’s what characterized the Israelis in the first reading.  Consider the evidence.  Before this section of the Book of Samuel, the Israelis can be characterized as sinners who depended on their own strength, not their God’s.  And so, they go into battle with a fierce competitor, confident of their own abilities.  But they lose; they lose big time. 

They never gave a second thought to God before that first battle.  And yet, they decide to bring the symbol of the Israeli God forward for the second battle.  No prayers; no fasting; no repentance; no humility precedes their second battle; but rather, a prideful foot stomping celebration and confidence that just presence of the symbol of their God will win the day.  The scriptures show that they lost the second time even more decisively than the first.  False faith!- that’s what they had. 

Contrast this first story with the Gospel story.  A leper comes to Jesus with humility and says:  “If you wish, you can make me clean”.  Well thought out, don’t you think?  Because first, he says “If you wish”, he doesn’t begin with “please, please heal me Jesus”.  His whole demeanor is “Thy will be done” first.  Only after this does he say, “You can make me clean”.  The leper planned his appeal to Jesus; the leper had real faith; the leper humbly asked Jesus for help.  And he was rewarded for this approach.  God answered his prayer through His son Jesus. 

Now both of these stories happened so long ago.  What do they have to do with us today?  There are no great battles like that in my life at this very instant; and leprosy is a thing of the past.  But let me ask this simple question.  When you plan your daily activities, or before you encounter a big challenge in your life; has the Lord been your constant companion in prayer?  Do you come humbly before the Lord with your request planning your appeal with all humility and respect for your God?  Or is your appeal something that happens only after you get in to trouble?  Does it take a wake-up call- an illness, a job loss, an accident, a betrayal, to get you to ask for God’s help?  Or have you had a believing constant relationship with him before your appeal?  In other words, is your faith false- vested in the symbol of your God; or is it real; ahave  living vibrant relationship with the God you believe in. 

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