“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.”
Not too long ago a young man asked me an all too common question. “Father, do you always need to go to Confession to get all your sins forgiven?” I told him, “No, only for the worst sins.” He shook his head, looked at me with the saddest eyes and said, “That’s why Confession is so hard! Why does it have to be for the worst things?” I asked him, “Why are you looking so sad? Don’t you remember? Or have you forgotten? Confession is only for the worst sins, when you hate yourself the most, because that's when you need to hear Christ's love for you the most.”
Troubled hearts are broken hearts and broken hearts are the result of sin. My sins makes it very hard to believe in God, in others and even in myself. Our fallen nature, our sins, can make us feel as if life is hard and almost not worth living! But we must never forget that sin is the lens that distorts our vision - our view towards God, towards others and even towards ourselves. Sin makes us short-sighted, near-sighted, and for this reason we experience tunnel vision far too often. Sin has turned us into inferior creatures, and we were never created to be inferior. Due to sin, we can only see what is in front of us, close up, but never the obvious. Yes, we are damaged. We can’t go beyond our sight to the reality of faith. Faith helps man recover his vision and reach the Heavens. The Lord helps us to see, with new eyes, the Father’s revelation for he is the Father’s word made flesh, visible! We know God because we know Christ. As G.K. Chesterton points out, “Revelation means to reveal reality. What makes a religion? Revelation. Revelation is a religion…it is a vision, and a vision received by faith; but it is a vision of reality. Faith consists in a conviction of its reality.”
Believe God; believe also in me means we don’t have to resort to human inventions for explanations. There is a difference between myths and religion, because there is a difference between day dreams and visions. It is the difference between telling a ghost story and seeing a ghost (G.K. Chesterton).
Jesus invites us to have eyes open to Him, and we know the eyes are the means to the heart. “Do not let your hearts be troubled…I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” There is nothing more important in life than knowing the Way to live it, the Truth behind it and the expectancy of it. The vision in the Upper Room was a reality; it shaped the lives of Eleven Men. The Twelfth man had gone missing because he thought he knew the end of the story. His life was lived like his faith: short-sighted and short.
The Apostles had their eyes opened on the day of Pentecost and they remained opened until angry men shut them tight forever. But before they did, the disciples had multiplied and reached the ends of the earth. They had made it through the valleys of tears to tell men and women of good will the Good News that would last forever, for truth endures the test of time and men!
What makes a great story? A great ending. And a great ending is a surprise ending. The Lord gave us a surprise beyond all our imagining!
Sin destroys happy endings and makes them boring. Sin creates an ending similar to its beginning: an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, a face for a face. How boring! The Lord invites us, through his passion and resurrection, to try something different the next time we are tempted! Instead of succumbing to retaliation or revenge, try forgiving…for they know not what they do! That will always make a fantastic love story; a great ending that settles our hearts for good.