Lord, Where Are You?
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 2, 2022
“How long, O Lord? I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin? Why must I look at misery?”
It’s funny, but people have been praying with words like these for a long, long time. This prayer to God which I have quoted above was written well over 2700 years ago, and yet one might as well have uttered them last week in response to some act of violence or tragedy in the world that we live in, or some personal crisis in our own lives or that of our family or friends. Although times change, technology advances, and places are different, the human heart and human nature have not really changed. Habakkuk’s questions for God are as appropriate today as when they were first written so many years ago.
It seems that not a week goes by that some sort of outrageously violent act is perpetrated in this country or elsewhere in the world. One need think only of Ukraine, Syria, or the daily violence, crime and homelessness issues right here in the United States. Are things more violent now, or has our modern communications made it seem so?
The prophet is frustrated because he is witness to frightful violence and ruin. Even someone as close to God as the prophet is feels the anguish of separation from God that we all experience to one extent or another in the world we live in. At times the apparent delay between God’s promises and his answers to our prayers makes us cry out with Habakkuk, “I cry out to you, look at this violence – but you do not answer! Where are you Lord?!”
It is at times like these that we long for God’s justice in our world and in our lives. We pray that he will act in a decisive and visible way to restore justice and peace, to offer protection for the vulnerable and help our nation recover its awareness of God. God teaches us through this reading that even though his answer may appear to be delayed, it will surely come. God’s timing is not our timing; God’s ways are not ours. We see events in time, but he sees the whole picture in eternity – he works within the whole human lifespan and not as immediately as we would sometimes wish. God has not abandoned his people or the world we live in. In fact, he sent his Only Son to die for us and save us.
There are times in our lives when we are tried quite severely, but through it all God asks us to trust him – and to keep on going. We are able to do this in part because we take a long view of history. We know there really is a new world coming; work, peace and justice really do reside. Therefore, we make every effort to strive to enter in, by having faith in our Lord and striving to please him, because heaven is the only goal that really matters. We are not home yet.