It can be easy to think that once we commit to Jesus things will flow smoothly after that. Once we have accepted the invitation of Jesus to be his disciple, then all things should easily fall into place after that. Indeed, I find in my own life that there are times when I feel that somehow I have been singled out for something awful when even the smallest things go wrong.
It is not what authentic relationships are about. It is not the case that when a man and woman become husband and wife that magically all the problems disappear. It is not the case that when we become someone’s friend that suddenly we are free from all problems. It is not the case that when a man becomes a priest that suddenly holiness just falls naturally into his heart. As Pope Francis noted in a recent homily, faith is not magic.
No, faith is a relationship that promises us that whatever happens we will not be alone. That is what husband and wife can count on when they make their promise to love each other all their days. They do not know what happy or sad times await them, what rewards and challenges will come into their lives. What they do know is that whatever happens, they will face it together. Such is also true of friends and of ministry. We are not alone.
So when we hear of the things happening in the first reading and the gospel, we should not feel forsaken. Even though it means that faith will provide us with difficulties, just as marriages and friendships and vocations have tough times, we will not have to face these things alone.