Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
We celebrated the opening of the Year of faith on October 11, 2012 and also the canonization of 7 more Saints on October 21st. In his Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, the Holy Father shows us that “the “door of faith” is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church…. and to enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism, through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory” (#1). He also mentions that the renewal of the Church can be achieved in the witness offered by the lives of believers: by their very existence in the world as they radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us (#6).
For this temporal world of ours, faith or trust means that someone has something that others do not have or has leverage that others cannot attain without them. So we hear the words popularized in movies: “trust me”! Faith is also attributed to belief that a person can attain anything that he wants and get anything that he desires. Thus also the popular words: say it and you’ll get it, and think of it and you can do it. This kind of faith or trust has become too common because people simply want to be nice, to please others or to get attention or recognition; and certainly that is temporary.
However, the faith that we want to live out is one that is based only in Him who has given it to us as a gift, and we can see this gift expressed in creation, in the incarnation, death, resurrection and His ascension of Jesus into heaven, where, because of His promise, we hope to be with Him, and His promise is trustworthy. We seek not simply to be nice but to be truthful in our endeavors and relationships – the truth that comes from God and the truth that is God Himself – thus be able to proclaim His life in every aspect of life.
This is the faith we want to live, the faith in Jesus who is the source of life. He is the energy of our life. Many times though we try to seek energy from vitamins, sugar-filled drinks or other energy related drugs and at times from overwhelming technological activities. However, without our vision for life and our focus on the origin of our faith, life can be listless and exhausting, for only in relation with the person of Jesus, the source of this gift of faith can we grow in our relationship with God who calls us to His Kingdom.
Our Gospel today leads us to the very action of faith. It is the action that God wants us to do and to become, so that faith will not be lifeless. It is the expression of our trust in God, for “faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Ja 2:17); and as one of the scribes responded to Jesus: “to love him with all your heart… and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Mk 12:33).
Again in his Apostolic letter, Porta Fidei, the Holy Father says, We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; … and also the source from which all its power flows.” At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year (#9).
We were baptized and most of us have received the sacrament of confirmation, and to live this faith, St. Paul invites us to live out the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and against which there is no law (Gal 22-23). Faith is not just an idea. It is life in action, a life full of love for God and neighbor, and a life of anticipation to cross that threshold to the Kingdom promised us by the Lord Jesus.
As we celebrate the Eucharist we proclaim that Jesus did not just tell us to live life fully, but He gave His life for us. Let us make our conviction ring throughout the world that our faith in God is the only way to peace in this world, and it leads to eternal life.