“King of the Hill” is a television cartoon series that tells the story of the Hill family. It is a comedy but the episodes often make very good points to reflect upon. There is one episode where Bobby (the Hill’s teenage son) happens to be at a skateboard park one day when he is introduced to a youth Christian evangelist. This guy skateboards, he has tattoos and he plays in a Christian rock band. He invites Bobby to his ministry and Bobby quickly gets immersed in it. At first Hank and Peggy (Bobby’s parents) are thrilled. Bobby is involved in church stuff! But then they start to have concerns. Bobby is staying out too late with this crowd but it is okay because “it is for the Lord”. He begins to separate himself from his longtime friends. He stops attending church on Sunday with his family because it is just too boring.
Hank decides to talk to Bobby. He goes to his room and notices Bobby’s toy box. “What’s this?” asks Hank. “Just a box of my old toys.” answers Bobby. “Oh, yeah,” says Hank, “Here are the toy soldiers your mother and I bought you for your fifth birthday. Here is that card game you got into in the sixth grade and here is your mitt from little league.” Looking at all of this Hank then turns to his son and says, “Bobby, I know that you are caught up in the rush of this Christian group but I don’t want to see your faith become just another thing discarded and left behind in this box.”
My dear friends; strive for the faith that endures! Is there a place in the life of faith for energy? Yes! For enthusiasm? Certainly! Should we always strive to connect faith with where we are in life? Definitely! But faith is not a gimmick and a gimmicky faith really does not go very far. It sputters out rather quickly often leaving one feeling abandoned and played. Strive for the faith that endures! Why is this important? Because it is only the faith that endures that can lead one to authenticity.
Mary, besides being the mother of Jesus and the Mother of God – a name which only she in all of human history can claim and also, besides being a disciple and someone in need of a savior – like each of us – was fully authentic. Mary’s faith endured. Mary’s faith endured the question of the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement. Mary’s faith endured all those silent and probably extremely common silent years of Jesus’ life. Mary’s faith endured the hurt of hearing her son ask, “Who is my mother? … The one who does the will of my Father.” Mary’s faith endured the pain of her son being mocked, whipped and put to death. Mary’s faith endured the cross. Mary strove for a faith that endured.
Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that Christ has been raised from the dead (body and soul) and that all of those who belong to Christ will also be raised from the dead – body and soul. Mary already shares fully in this: body and soul … the fullness of who we are … the authenticity of who we are.
In one form or another we are all cracked, in one form or another we are all broken, yet we all have deep within us a yearning for a wholeness that we cannot escape. This is faith as the “remembrance of the future” (“memoria futuri”). The yearning itself gives testimony to the truth that we are indeed meant for wholeness because why would we have a yearning for that which we could never possibly achieve? The assumption of Mary reveals God’s answer to this yearning of the splintered human heart.
In Christ, wholeness and authenticity is possible.
We can begin to know it today. We can begin to live it now.
Strive for the faith that endures!