The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

Things change during recession. People buy less and bargain-hunt more. They count their change. Supposedly, they go to church more often. Hard times, it seems, remind us of a soft God. A new one for me, however, is an increase in gun sales. American gunmaker Smith & Wesson is aiming for doubled annual sales for the next few years. After a 13 per cent hike in 2009, triggering sales to a whopping $335 million, they were expected to jump 30 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year – an impressive, or depressive depending on your viewpoint, $102 million increase. Throughout the US demand for firearms is rising. The reason? Fear. Fear that recession-induced unemployment will lead to more crime. Fear that terrorism will again strike at the heartland. Fear that government will slap restrictions on gun ownership, and more taxes on firearms.

Today’s Gospel reading opens a fear-free zone. (John 10:27-30) It radiates confidence. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. (v. 27-28) This is not an arrogant boast but a sober statement of fact. The Church knows she’s awash with saints and sinners. Even when lifestyles and attitudes within the Church betray the sorry fact of sin’s influence on its members, the community’s faith holds. The reason? Our God loves: in prosperity as well as in recession, and sinners as well as saints. Maybe sinners that little more, because they’re short on love! Rather disarming, isn’t it?
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