Posted: 21 Mar 2009 12:00 AM PDT (Catholic Exchanged)
Chr 36:15-16, 19-23 / Eph 2:4-10 / Jn 3:14-21
There’s a law in physics that a pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it’s released. In fact, because of friction and gravity, it will fall just a little short of the release point. Each time it swings, the arc gets smaller and smaller till it finally comes to rest.
A physics teacher had just taught this lesson when a student decided to get even for all his bad grades. “Teacher,” he asked “do you really believe that?”
“Of course I do,” huffed the teacher. “I’ve been teaching it for twenty years!”
“Well, then, let’s just put it to a little test.” And with that the student made a huge pendulum by suspending 300 pounds of weight-lifting disks from the ceiling. He brought the weights right up to the teacher’s nose. “Now, sir, if the law of the pendulum is true, when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and then back, and stop just a little short of your nose. Sir, do you believe that?”
“Yes,” said the teacher, looking not at all certain.
The boy released the pendulum. At the far end of its arc it paused just a moment and than swung faster and faster back toward the teacher — who had disappeared under the desk! He knew the law of pendulums, but when the crunch came, he wasn’t willing to bet his nose on it!
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In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me will not die, but will have eternal life.” He’s saying, in other words, that faith in God is a matter of life and death for us! So we’d better get very clear about what faith is.
First of all, it’s a lot more than just knowing and signing off on the big dogmas: One God, three persons, died for our sins, and so on. They’re important and true, but signing off on them isn’t the essence of faith. Real faith in God is a relationship in which we entrust ourselves into God’s hands.
Now why would we entrust ourselves to someone we can’t even see?
Because ever so quietly, God has been showing himself to us in thousands of different ways every day: In the majesty of a sunset, in a glistening dewdrop resting on a rose, in the forgiveness and understanding that come our way so often, in the round little faces of our children and the wrinkled faces of our dear old friends, and best of all in the face of our brother Jesus.
How much he wants the best for us. And so, when it finally sinks in, we whisper, I believe. I know you love me and I can trust you, Lord. So I give myself to you.
If those words have deep roots, they will bear fruit in peaceful hearts and in confident hearts that know how to relax in the Lord. If those words have deep roots, they will bear fruit in hearts that know what matters and what does not, hearts that don’t falter or pull away when heavy weights bear down upon them, hearts that are ready for everything because they are connected to the Lord.
Those are the strong and peaceful hearts we want for ourselves and that God wants for us. So speak from deep inside the words he’s been waiting to hear: “Lord, I know you love me. So I give myself to you! I give it all and I’m holding nothing back.”
Peace and strength will follow!