Aug 8 2020 Reflection
Saturday 8 August 2020
First Reading: HAB 1:12—2:4
You forsake not those who seek you, O Lord.
PS 9:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Gospel Reading: MT 17:14-20
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said,
“Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely;
often he falls into fire, and often into water.
I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
Jesus said in reply,
“O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you?
Bring the boy here to me.”
Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him,
and from that hour the boy was cured.
Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said,
“Why could we not drive it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith.
Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain,
‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you.”
The vision . . . will not disappoint; . . . it will surely come. (Habakkuk 2:3)
Human beings are willing to endure great suffering if they can see a purpose to it. Parents will work exhausting hours and withstand sleepless nights to provide for their children. Soldiers will risk their lives to defend their homeland. But without a clear purpose, suffering is very difficult to bear.
In today’s first reading, we see Habakkuk grappling both with the problem of suffering and with the God who allows it. At that time, the Babylonians were invading Judah and causing great suffering. Alarmed by what he saw, Habakkuk vented at God and even brought charges against him! He accepted that God could justly punish the Israelites, but he protested that the extent of their misery served no purpose. And so he complained to the Lord: The Babylonians do even greater evil than the Jews, yet they appear to be rewarded. How can you allow this?
It would seem irreverent to accuse God of anything. But God welcomes our honest prayers. In fact, he wants us to bring him our complaints about pain and suffering, especially when it seems to serve no purpose. God doesn’t punish Habakkuk for daring to speak up; he responds with a mysterious promise, a vision that “presses on to fulfillment; . . . if it delays, . . . it will surely come” (Habakkuk 2:3). Trust me, God tells him. I am doing something even in this horrible situation. Watch and wait.
What was true for Habakkuk is also true for us. We may be faced with suffering—whether sudden and piercing tragedy or a piling up of everyday frustrations. It’s better to turn to God and vent at him than to despair, or worse, to grit our teeth and bear it. We can always trust that our Father hears our cries and will answer in his good timing.
Today, take up Habakkuk’s honesty in prayer. Bring whatever is going on in your life before God. Then, “stand at [your] guard post, / . . . And keep watch to see what he will say” (Habakkuk 2:1). God will always respond with his wisdom and his comfort.
“Here I am, Lord, ready to pour out my heart to you!”