MORENO: Trust in God, not in human beings

February 26, 2019

Bearing in mind the present state of the Church being affected by sins of sexual abuse, I thought it would be appropriate to be reminded that one of the marks of the faithful Christian is that we are called to place our trust in God, and not in men or earthly powers.

The opening line of the Book of Psalms gives us the beatitude: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked” (Psalm 1:1). Later on, the psalmist writes a corresponding thought: “Blessed the man who sets his security in the Lord” (Psalm 39:5). If we are sincere with ourselves, not trusting in men extends even to ourselves.

St. Paul describes this universal condition: “for I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want” (Romans 7:19).

A few days ago, the readings for the sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time presented us precisely this theme. God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah these words: “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5).

Notice that this is not a blanket condemnation (otherwise, we could not ever trust the advice of others), what is being condemned is not merely trusting men, but placing our trust in man instead of trusting God.

God proves to be worthy of our trust by fulfilling His promises in the person of Jesus Christ, who in the Gospel reading for the same Sunday gives us the message of the Beatitudes. This message goes hand in hand with the message of Jeremiah.

Putting our trust in God by listening and following Christ does not lead us to wealth in this world, but rather leads us to the abundance of the Kingdom of God. Trusting God by imitating Christ usually does not earn us fame, but rather the rejection and reproach of the people.

Just as Jeremiah had strong words of warning for those who place their trust in men, so Jesus in this version of the Beatitudes according to Luke has laments, or “woes:” Woe to you who are rich! Woe to those who are satiated! Woe to those who laugh now! Woe to those who seek fame!

Trusting in God is the path that leads to full happiness, but is most certainly a hard thing to do. Trusting in God today has become nearly impossible for many people who have been betrayed by those entrusted to guide them toward God.
It is my prayer that trust will be restored to everyone affected by these sins so that they may be able to turn to God and be healed. I also pray that trust in our Church is restored so that she can fully commit to preach the saving news to all. †

Juan Carlos Moreno is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.