On a retreat once a man was speaking about swimming in a pool with his very young son. The son stood at the edge of the pool where the water would be over his head as it came up to chest level of his father who stood in the pool. The man coaxed his son to jump in. “Don’t worry. I will catch you.” It took quite a bit of encouragement because the boy’s fear needed to be overcome by his faith, trust, and hope in his father. Finally he takes the risk and jumps in. His father does catch him and after the initial shot of fear, he laughed, held securely and safely in his father’s arms.
In large part, this is what this whole next chapter is about in Pope Francis’ “Lumen Fidei.” If you remember, last week we diagnosed a problem: our society needs the light of faith once again. In this section the pope is reminding us through evidence of past events why our Father is one in whom to place our trust and our hope. Remember Abraham and how God guided and cared for the people of Israel through all the ages. The coming of Jesus shows proof of God’s love for us when Jesus even dies for our sake. To see His mangled body might cause one to lose one’s faith, “How could God let this happen?” But it is in precisely that He was willing to submit to the cruelty of man in order to give to men the means of salvation that we have our faith strengthened. But it is in His resurrection that we understand that this is a reliable love.
But it is not enough simply to be saved by His great action. It is also about relationship. If good business is about location, location, location, salvation is about relationship, relationship, relationship. We are called to be in relationship with God and only in this way do we gain from Him a way of seeing the world, understanding it, and living in it. Through this we are transformed.
This faith is necessarily lived out in the Church, in the faith community. It is never “God and me.” It is the Church and God. Faith, since it saves all, is not a private matter but one to be lived within the Body of Christ and the Church is the Body of Christ.
Francis wrote much more and much more beautifully in this chapter, but this gives you a taste. We have only to look to see that God has always been with us and guided us. Today, we take the jump of faith into the pool of Christ’s body which is expressed in this world by the Church.