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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

A Troubled Heart Cannot Believe

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me".

(John 14:1 NKJV)

The words of John's Gospel lead us to the moments before the arrest of Jesus. Judas' intentions have recently been revealed, and Jesus is preparing the disciples for what will soon happen. The Master's sweet concern is contained in this heartfelt appeal: "Do not let your hearts be troubled". Sometimes we are inclined to believe that faith exempts us from conflicts, exempts us from pain and escapes us from all forms of suffering. It is particularly difficult to have to ascertain that our belief does not lead us to a blessed islet free from the evils of life. Jesus himself, as reported in the same Gospel, on some occasions felt disturbed. At the tomb of his friend Lazarus, he "was deeply moved in spirit and troubled" (John 11:33). As his death approached, he declared: "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?" (John 12:27). Before our episode, he was once again troubled at the thought of Judas' betrayal (John 13:21). So the Master was clear about what he was talking about in exhorting his disciples: he knew the fragility of the human heart and the predisposition to be discouraged in the face of life's adversities.

Words arrive with reassuring intent: "You know the way". In the dark moment, after his departure from this world, when the turmoil would have assailed them, it was enough to stay on the right path and not get carried away by events in order not to lose faith. Simply, "believe in God". What is the simplest of actions, in many cases becomes inconceivable and impracticable. How can I believe? How is it possible to believe? Let us look to Jesus and let us not be influenced by anything else! Just when faith is failing and it becomes impossible to believe, our heart is troubled. This is why the Master warns us not to give in to discouragement. He urges us to remember the provident and wonderful God in whom we believe, and to entrust ourselves to his mighty and loving hand. He urges us to trust in God who, in the immensity of his love for him, he wants to give us that inner serenity that calms every storm. He pushes us to believe that God will assist us in the turbulent vicissitudes of existence. He encourages us to draw strength from him to face adversity. It also exhorts us to believe not only in God, but also in him, the visible image of God.

Faith in God cannot remain a vague interior disposition, but become an act of full trust in Jesus, who reveals the Father and is the bearer of reconciliation between God and humanity, between the Saint and the sinner. I don't know about you, but these words widen my heart to me. He does not ask us to always be at the height of everything and above everything that can happen to us. He doesn't consider us based on how much we make or produce. He doesn't evaluate our results with fussiness and nastiness. He asks us to (re) stay in peace, indeed he commands us, in fact the verb used by John is an imperative. This peace of heart has a precise foundation: "Have faith in God and also have faith in me". The world promises and then disappoints, the solid certainties of men are sand castles that crumble in the sun. Only He does not disappoint. He alone is the sure rock on which to build our home. "I am going on to prepare a place for you..." are finally the words that assure us in the eschatological projection. Lifting our gaze to the things above and to a future never so close helps us to remain calm in Christ's hand. Isn't it that difficult ?! Come on, let's try together!

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 26 June 21, Esther 3-5; Acts 5:22-42 June 22, Esther 6-8; Acts 6 June 23, Esther 9-10; Acts 7:1-21 June 24, Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43 June 25, Job 3-4; Acts 7:44-60 June 26, Job 5-7; Acts 8:1-25 June 27, Job 8-10; Acts 8:26-40


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