The opening lines of today’s first reading are some of the most powerful words in Scripture. The desperation is clear in the words of the prophet Habakkuk, “How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene.” In this cry you can feel the anger and frustration. Habakkuk’s world is falling down around him and it appears that God is nowhere to be found.
Those words could have been uttered by any number of us over the years. How many times have we prayed for peace just to see another war begin? How many times have we prayed for an end to violence, only to read about another senseless murder on our streets? I think most of us can identify with Habakkuk’s frustration. We can fall into hopelessness and despair.
During the Missionaries’ XXI General Assembly, which just concluded at the end of September, the delegates reflected on this reading during our lectio divina. It is a powerful reading. To understand fully the power of the reading, however, you have to keep reading past the anger and frustration. God answered Habakkuk’s pleading and the answer is just as powerful as the despair. God tells us that “the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint.” The Reign of God will come and it will not disappoint.
Our response to sin and evil in our world cannot be simply to throw our hands up and give up. As today’s gospel reminds us, we are called to be people of hope, people of faith. We know that Christ has conquered sin and death. He has risen! Our response has to move through anger and frustration so that we can firmly stand for the vision of God, a vision which will not disappoint.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
The V. Rev. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., is the provincial director of the Cincinnati Province. Previously, he served as the secretary general of the worldwide Congregation and was also in ministry at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., of which he is an alumnus.