Michael Szopiak ’14, ‘16 M.Ed., ‘18 MTS
Assistant Rector, Fisher Hall
Nearing the end of my sophomore year of high school in Houston, I stared at a survey question in front of me: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you for your upcoming move to the Singapore American School?”
“One. Better yet, negative one,” I thought.
During that time, I wrote to a friend to describe my thoughts: “Right now, I go to a great Catholic school; I have a great supporting cast in my religious life; my faith has grown a bunch over the last few years. What do I have if I go? I don't have any of that. Why would God take me away?”
Almost despite myself, I found Christ was beckoning me to follow him in the faith and freedom that comes from embracing insecurity. Looking back, I can see that moving to Singapore was Christ’s invitation for me to renew my faith with radical insecurity. It was a difficult call to hear because I wanted faith on my own terms.
Today’s Gospel is situated between two stories about faith—the first tells about the great faith of a Roman centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant, and the second speaks about the disciples’ lack of faith during a torrential storm. In light of these stories, this Gospel’s motif of following Christ can be read as an invitation to the kind of faith that heals and saves.
Maybe Jesus’ responses in this Gospel appear both callous and obscure because he is shaking us from our complacency. Christ beckons the seekers who approach him to turn away from security—to be willing to prioritize following him above the comforts of home and even family responsibilities. Christ suggests that to follow him, we must completely abandon our self-forged stability, for faith requires insecurity.
“Faith is an openness to the truth,” explains Fr. Anthony DeMello, SJ, “no matter what the consequences, no matter where it leads.”