The faith that must keep burning in us

BY the time you read this article, I hope that our nation would move on with the newly elected president and other leaders. We need to tackle the continuing challenges of health, economy, education, climate change, unity, rights, and justice for people of all races and life stages.  We cannot afford to be divided as a country as we deal with these challenges. We all have to do our part in bringing solutions and hope to our wounded world and society.

I pray too that we keep searching for wisdom from God through Spirit and Word to unite us. For as the Book of Wisdom (6:12-16) tells us this Sunday: “Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her and found by those who seek her.”

In the Book of Wisdom, Lady Wisdom refers to the divine breath or Spirit intimately related to God. She is the outpouring of the glory of God, the image of divine goodness and power. She enters our lives to show God’s love and care for all people. She animates us with hope and enflames our hearts with God’s mercy and love, making us all friends of God.

We don’t deny the need for practical and effective solutions to our nation and the world’s crises and problems. But we Christians claim that it is Jesus, by his words and Spirit, that would transform hearts and minds, even those of the most corrupt politicians.

We must be ready like the wise virgins in this Sunday’s Gospel parable. We must keep the flame of our faith in Jesus burning by making sure that we have enough oil in our hands to welcome Jesus in our lives and spread his teachings to build his reign in this world.

In today’s context, the essential “oil” that we need is our untiring hope in Jesus that he would rescue us from our sufferings. It is our positive attitude that keeps us doing good works of charity, especially to those who are in need.  It is our unwillingness to succumb to despair, passivity, and negativity.

More concretely, it is the smile we show others to cheer them up in times of suffering, the hands that share food to the hungry, and write checks to keep churches open. It is the effort we spend to keep our families together and the warmth of care and hospitality to those who feel alienated in our society.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day and the Christmas holiday, let the flame of faith in Jesus grant us hope, strength, and courage in this time of fears, challenges, and uncertainties.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.

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