Homily – October 20, 2019

XXIX Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year C
20 October 2019

Over the course of my life I have lost many things … hats, cameras, keys, watches, wallets, credit cards, rosaries and other religious articles – I have lost things only to find them months later in the most unlikely of places. I’m sure that all of us have a story or two about something we lost and never recovered or found weeks or months later … but did you ever lose something of value – either of monetary or sentimental? What do we typically do with these types of things – jewelry, treasured mementos, etc. Lock them in a safe? Keep in them in a special location? Hide them? We care for these items, we protect them because they have meaning…

The last line of the gospel today is rather interesting … “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” What exactly is He looking for? Maybe a faith like the widow in the gospel reading – an unwavering, persistent, relentless? We have heard the disciples ask for an increase in faith, we heard Jesus tells about the power of faith the size of a mustard seed, we heard Him tell the Samaritan leper – your faith has saved you … there is then, in the eyes of Our Lord something very valuable with regard to faith … it is a treasure that must be safeguarded, protected from harm, cared for … so as not to lose it… but how?

St. Paul’s letter to Timothy lends us a certain insight into answering this question of how to remain faithful, how to safeguard and keep the sacred gift of the faith we have received … here’s a clue: immerse ourselves in God’s Word – in the Sacred Scriptures. The Word of God is meant for our instruction in the faith – to teach us, lift us up, encourage … the Scriptures teach us how to be holy, saintly … how to speak and act … and so that we do not have to figure out on our own – the Scriptures are read and interpreted within the context of the Church – for our instruction and encouragement … We read them here at Mass, followed by a homily which does just that – teaches and encourages…

But what about on our own? That is one of the biggest criticisms of our non-Catholic Christian friends … Catholics do not know the Scriptures. Now, we hear 2/3 of the Bible in a 3 year cycle at every Sunday Mass … but again, what about on our own? Our faith is different than treasured articles like jewelry, family mementos, or even rosaries and other religious articles that have sentimental value … faith is not meant to be locked away nor hidden … but cared for, protected, nurtured through the Scriptures, prayer, Mass, confession, fasting, almsgiving and the acts of mercy … faith is active – whether convenient or not, as St. Paul says … faith cannot be dormant. The widow in the gospel she teaches us something about being persistent. St. Paul teaches us something about the value of God’s Word … both lend insight into how to nurture our faith and our relationship with God … when we pursue Him. We pursue Him in prayer, at Mass, in confession, in acts of kindness and charity … this is how we protect our faith, this is how we care for it. And the Scriptures reveal to us the Heart of the Savior … therefore this question of whether or not Jesus will find faith when He comes for us … that’s not the real question … the question is will we know Him, do we know Him – will we recognize Him? That recognition begins with picking up the Bible and reading it… Immersing ourselves in His Word… our faith is fed and nourished by His Word … where it cannot be lost.

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