13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In both of the miracles he works Jesus, Our Lord, speaks of the importance of faith. To the lady he says ‘your faith has saved you’ to the Father of the little girl ‘do not be afraid only have faith’.
Faith is the relationship between us and God. There are so many different ways of describing what faith is. None of them really adequate. Perhaps a good description is to say that faith is like the love between a child and it’s mother.
When you are a child you just believe everything your Mum says to you. You trust her completely, to give you food, to tuck you in at night, to kiss you better. As you grow older you begin to appreciate how much your Mum has given up for you, what she sacrificed for you, how she struggled for you and your love deepens. And when you are an adult you become like your Mum, you look after her and give things up for her. And all the time this love is often shared with brothers and sisters it’s a communal family effort. None of this is fully open to scientific investigation, it’s hard to explain it but it is absolutely real and it has to be there if your Mum is to help you and care for you and if you are to love and care for your mum. This relationship is a gift, it’s not something we choose, it’s there from the moment we are conceived and our Mum begins to give herself out of love for us.
Now there are differences with faith. Part of growing in love for our parents is the realisation that they are not always right, not always perfect, sometimes parents fail us, there can be bad parents. But there are similarities. Our relationship with God does change as we grow up. Our trust in God, our understanding of God’s words and actions deepens. We get to the stage where we begin to do things for God or at least for those God loves. We grow in understanding of God, we come to know and love God, and speak to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we do this in community with our brothers and sisters in the family of the Church. Faith is a gift because it is a response to the love God has for us from the moment of our existence. It has to there if God is to love and care for us and if we are to love God.
That’s why faith is necessary for these miracles and necessary for salvation. Faith isn’t blind belief, doing something or believing something without any actual evidence. It is born of the profound link between each of us and God, as I said like the profound link between a mother and the child she conceives in her womb.
The penny catechism asks ‘what is faith?’ And answers ‘Faith is a supernatural gift from God which enables us to believe without doubting whatever God has revealed’.
The answer makes me think of that child who trusts his Mum will give him everything he needs and I pray that I will always have the same attitude towards God.