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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Oct. 6, 2013

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4

Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9

2) 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

Some people, it seems, have more than their share of suffering. My friend Larry is one of them. I thought of him when I read this weekend's scriptural lament, "How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen!"

For a time it seemed that Larry faced sorrow upon sorrow. A year after his older brother's untimely death, Larry and his wife Christine lost their 3-day-old infant son. Within another year both of his parents died.

His life got back on an even keel, but then, 15 years ago, he was in a plane crash. Two of the six people on board died. Larry survived by climbing through an opening enveloped in flames. He suffered serious burns to his face, arms and hands. His recovery was painful and long, including numerous skin grafts and physical therapies.

Now, Larry can recall moments when he wondered "How long, O Lord?" But they were fleeting. Christine, their daughters and others were at his side. "I had a lot of support, some role models and my faith," he said. He remembers distinctly a moment of clarity he experienced in the hospital when he realized and accepted the presence and the workings of God in the whole situation.

In Habakkuk, the plaint "How long, O Lord?" is answered by the Lord's firm reminder of how to remember the ways of God: Write down the vision clearly, so it can be easily read. "For the vision still has its time ... and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come."

This is faith: looking back upon God's vision of life and believing it. Luke's Gospel expands the point in saying we should live that faith by being a servant of God's vision. We find fulfillment in serving God -- and the life God gives us -- whatever happens.

I've known Larry and Christine since we were teenagers. They enjoy much love with their family and friends. With his great humor and confident generosity, Larry always lights up a gathering and buoys the spirits of everyone around him. Always.

When his beloved sister died recently, he was gratified to deliver her eulogy. Beforehand, he said, "I'll be fine. It's hard to go through these things. But it's what we do." He believes the vision. A faithful servant.


Considering your own life and trials, what "vision" of God would you write down to strengthen your faith?


"For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint." -- Habakkuk 2:3


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