This article is based on part of a sermon Fr. Leo gave at the University of Steubenville.
Put Our Trust in God: Dealing with Doubt
There is not a saint who didn’t doubt, at some point.
Because doubt could either lead to despair – if you choose not to pursue knowledge – or you could turn that doubt into a question, but not to question authority as though somehow we don’t want to hear the answer.
Rather, I want you to think of it this way, not to question authority but rather to quest the author.
That author of our life and the answer to every question is here before us.
Yet, we can doubt and you know what, we are like Simon Peter, thinking,
“I’ve been praying. God hasn’t answered me.”
I’ve felt that way. I’ll admit something to you right now, when I was a child, I prayed for God to make me taller. He did not answer that prayer. Until I realized that sitting in coach class is like first class for little guys like me, because God has a way of answering our questions in a way to show that he is generous with us.
Put Our Trust in God: Jesus Loves Sinners
Saint Peter in that Gospel passage wanted Jesus to leave him even though he saw a miracle. We have miracles in our lives every day and we kind of don’t want to admit that God is answering our questions because we recognize, “Would God wanna hang out with me? I’m a sinner.”
Our church teaching tells us he not only wants to spend time with you, he wants to dwell in you because,
our God is a God of mercy.
Now, you can try it. You can do what Saint Peter said, “Leave me, Lord.”
You know what he’s gonna say? “Ain’t no way. I love you. I love you so much I wanna be in you and you in me.” You know what that’s called? Communion.
This is what we are beholding right now. You see, the reason why Peter started to believe that that was the Lord of mercy was because he kinda doubted him. He said, “Ph. Dude, you’re a carpenter. I’m a fisherman. It’s like a plumber telling a surgeon how to do brain surgery.”
We are that way with God. We’re that way.
Put Our Trust in God: Do it His Way
Peter had enough faith, small as a mustard seed, to at least listen to what Jesus said. I want you, and I’m preaching to myself as well, to maybe, when Jesus says, “Cast your net on the other side,” you know what he’s really saying?
“Stop doing it your way. Do it mine.”
What will happen? You will see God’ generous love and answer to every question.
The reason why he knew it was Jesus? Because Jesus gave him so much fish, so much food.
(Here’s where I really get excited, because I cook a lot on TV. I’m good enough to cook to beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network, but that’s not why we’re here.)
We are here because Jesus is trying to tell you, “You know what? You guys are hungry aren’t you? You don’t even know it.”
You see, Peter could’ve just said, “Hey, it was a miserable day. We didn’t catch much, so no big whoop.”
Jesus says, “No it’s not. Every day I want to feed you. Every day I wanna give you the best and the most,” because he knows you are hungry, especially teenagers. You know the problem?
Do we go to Jesus to be fed?
Because there are evil forces, the devil, who wants to feed you, too. You can keep doing it your way by going to all those bad things that feed us and destroy us, because you are what you eat.
Or, we can go to the God of mercy and say, “Feed us with the best and the most,” and he will do it for you.
God is the Father of the Prodigal Son
His track record of being a God of mercy and feeding you is no different from the gospel of the prodigal son, who took everything and wasted it and yet his father waited for him, looking for him.
The only reason why that kid came back is ’cause he’s like every other college kid. He was hungry and needed to do his laundry.
What did the father give? The best, clothed him in the finest.
I’m here to tell you that the only reason why I am a priest is because Jesus, our God, was generous with his mercy on me. He wants to give his mercy to you.
The question just simply remains:
What are you hungry for?
For more from Fr. Leo on nourishing both the body and the spirit, take at look at his popular work, Grace before Meals: half cookbook and half spiritual reflection!