Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 20th Mk. 3: 7-12 “He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.”
They come to Jesus because He is healing them. But will they believe in Him when He is no longer there to heal them? It is easy for us to believe in Jesus when things are going well in our lives, but do we still believe in Him when the storms of life descend upon us?
FAITH THAT CAN MOVE THE MOUNTAINS by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
A both charming and captivating movie that came out several years ago was that of Little Boy. One of the most memorable and impressive scenes was when the Little Boy was confronted with a miracle situation in which the mountain had to be moved. Indeed, Jesus Himself said faith can move the mountains. With fervor, enthusiasm, and all of the energy in his soul, Little Boy beckoned the moving of the mountain and in fact the mountain really did move, to the surprise and shock of all except Little Boy. The words of Jesus ring true: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” (Mt 17:20) Or, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Lk 17:6)
This being the case, let us talk about the virtue of faith, what it is, where it comes from, and how can we cultivate the virtue of faith and be like Little Boy, able to move the mountains and uproot and transplant the trees.
1. DEFINITION OF FAITH.
One of the most simple ways of defining faith is the following: “To believe in a God whom we cannot see and trust in His Word.” The risen Jesus gently rebuked Saint Thomas, giving him the nickname Doubting Thomas, because he refused to believe the testimony of the other Apostles when they told him the risen Jesus had appeared to them. Jesus appears to the Apostles again and this time Thomas is present. With the following words, Thomas offers to Jesus and the world at large one of the most simple and profound professions of faith: “My Lord and my God.” (Jn. 20:28) The Lord gently upbraids the Apostle saying, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20-29)
2. ORIGIN OF FAITH.
Faith is one of the three theological virtues that with Hope and Charity are planted in the very depths of our soul in the moment of Baptism. When you were baptized by the priest, deacon, or Bishop, using the Trinitarian formula: “______________” (insert Name), I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”—not only was Original Sin wiped clean from your soul, and not only did you become a living Temple of the Holy Spirit, but you also received these three very special Gifts, the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.
3. FAITH COMPARED TO A SEED PLANTED IN A GARDEN.
One of the best images for understanding the dynamic process of growth necessary for the virtue of Faith is that of a seed planted in a garden. It could be the best seed in the world. However, if that seed is not cultivated carefully and watered then that seed can wither up and die. So it is with the virtue of Faith: it must be cultivated or it too can wither and die!
4. FAITH MUST BE PRACTICED.
Not only must the virtue of Faith be cultivated, but it also must be put into practice. A weight-lifter, a baseball player, a swimmer, a runner—all of these athletes might potentially be the best in their field. However, if they do not practice, they will never know and exhibit the talents they have been endowed with. This short saying resounds as true: “Practice makes perfect.” The younger generation have coined this one-liner: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” The following will be practical ways that we can cultivate and grow in our faith by making concrete acts of faith.
The saintly Jesuit-Theologian who died in the year 2000 and is already a Servant of God, Father John Hardon, made this acute observation related to prayer and faith or the loss of faith. He asserted that it was his observation that almost always, those people who abandoned the practice of prayer, who abandoned this essential practice, lost their faith. It stands to reason because every time we pray, we are making an act of faith; we are talking to a God who is invisible, whom we cannot see with our physical sight, but we still believe hears us.
6. THE SIGN OF THE CROSS.
Another key act of faith is when we make the Sign of the cross, saying the words: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” This gesture and these words express our faith in the most profound Mystery of the Catholic Faith, the Blessed Trinity, that we believe in one God and Three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Another key corporal act of faith is that of genuflection, in which your right knee touches the ground every time you walk in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Your faith is directed toward The Mystery of Faith, that it is Jesus truly present in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar.
8. BOW UPON HEARING THE NAME OF JESUS.
Saint Paul says: “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11) These words of the great Apostle Saint Paul express the greatness of the Person and the Name of Jesus. Therefore, we should form the habit of bowing our head upon hearing the Name of Jesus. By doing so, our faith will be bolstered.
9. TRIALS SENT BY GOD.
Like Abraham, like Peter and the Apostles, like the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, our faith has to be tested, purified, and perfected by means of many trials. Saint James expressed this truth in these words: “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (Jas 1:2-4). God must allow trials in one form or another to purify, strengthen, and fortify our faith. As rusty iron is purified and perfected in the crucible of fire, so our faith is perfected in the crucible of various kinds of trials. The episode of Peter, first walking on the water and then sinking in the waves, in which he cried out “Lord, save me”, elicited these words and gesture of Jesus: “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?” and Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed on to that of Peter.” (Mt 14:30-31)Then Peter walked on water again until they got in the boat! Like Peter, at times we are called to leave the comfort zone of our boat and walk on the cold, rolling, and uncertain waters, all the while placing our faith and trust totally in the Lord Jesus.
10. SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH OTHERS.
In a material way, when we give something away we become impoverished. Not so when we share our faith. By sharing our faith in Jesus, in God, in the Catholic Church, we grow, and the more generously we share, the greater growth we experience! Saint Paul reminds us: “There is more joy in giving then in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Share your faith and you will grow in your faith!
Let us beg Our Lady, who never lost her faith and total trust in God even in the most difficult times in her life, to pray fervently for us so that like Little Boy our faith will be so strong that we will be able to move the highest mountains.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.