Archbishop Smith: Trustworthy
"The Reason for our Hope" is Archbishop Richard Smith's blog
Whom can I trust? This is a crucial question at any time, but especially in periods when things are in flux and uncertain, like the one we are in now with COVID-19. We feel the need to be led, but want to be certain that the person(s) leading us is worthy of our trust. In our current pandemic, we are blessed with public health experts, whom we do, in fact, trust to show us the way along this dark and difficult path. Our confidence in them is manifest in our common acquiescence to the directives they have put in place to keep us safe.
To their great credit, these medical experts have not taken our trust for granted. Rather, they have been at pains to demonstrate their trustworthiness. Among the signs that they employ to earn our confidence are graphic illustrations of trends and projections. They do their utmost to share very complex data in terms and pictures accessible to everyone. When we see these signs and understand them, we can then decide that, yes, these are people worthy of our trust; we can have full confidence in the direction they trace out for us.
This question of trust is of extraordinary importance. It needs to be posed not only in reference to the current, temporary pandemic but also in regard to life generally and always. The root of most of the mental anxiety that seems to be expanding exponentially among the citizenry, is, precisely, a crisis of trust. If I have no one in whom I can place my confidence, then I must necessarily fall back upon my own resources. Each of us knows we are weak and fallible. Trusting solely in ourselves, therefore, is no basis for certainty and hope; it leads only to a deep spiral of anxiety.
In whom, then, can we place our full trust? The sure answer to this question was joyfully announced on Divine Mercy Sunday: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Only the Risen Lord Jesus is worthy of our complete trust. He loves us beyond measure, is victorious over evil, sin and death, and has promised to be with us always in the full power of his Resurrection. He carries us, and will never abandon us.
I find it beautiful to observe that even Jesus does not take our trust for granted. He patiently and lovingly demonstrates signs to show his trustworthiness. I highlight two from Sunday’s Gospel passage (John 20: 19-31).
First, the Risen Jesus appears to his disciples. Recall that these are the very men who abandoned him in his suffering and death. Yet, he comes to them in love, and summons them to continue to participate in his mission by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a very moving and powerful sign of the fidelity of Jesus to those whom he loves. He remains always faithful as well to us, his beloved.
Second, he shows them his wounds. These manifest that the Risen Lord is the very same Jesus who died on the Cross; he is not a ghost or figment of their imagination. This, in turn, demonstrates that the trust Jesus had placed in his Father throughout his passion is fully vindicated. God will never let down those who place their full trust in him.
There is no need for a crisis of trust – ever. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is completely trustworthy, and he is with us always. Trust in him, and be at peace.