From the Pastor – October 6, 2019

The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (Lk 17:5)

By the time the Apostles have gotten to the 17th Chapter of Luke’s Gospel, they’ve seen Jesus do a lot of things.  They’ve seen a miraculous catch of fish.  They’ve seen Jesus expel demons.  They’ve seen Him heal a mother-in-law, a leper, a paralytic, a man with a withered hand, a servant, a woman with a hemorrhage, a crippled woman and a man with dropsy.  They’ve seen Jesus calm a storm, feed 5000 people and raise two children from the dead.  At this point, they realize that Jesus has some pretty serious authority.  And out of all the things they can ask for, they ask him for one thing: “increase our faith.”

What is it about “faith” that is so important to the Apostles?  There are two ways that we understand faith in the context of the Apostles.  It’s an obedient trust in God, and it’s an understanding of the content of what we believe through Divine Revelation.  And the Apostles knew that they needed both.  They needed a more confident trust in God, and they needed more understanding of the signs that Jesus was performing.  And it was the one thing they wanted.

As we celebrate Respect Life Sunday this weekend, we might ask for the same thing.  Most of us haven’t spent a lot of time researching the history of Divine Revelation, but we understand what our Catholic faith teaches about the crime of abortion.  It’s not complicated at all.  Every biological textbook in use in each university in the world tells us that human life begins at conception.  That’s not a matter of faith; that’s a biological fact.  Each of us began the same way.  We weren’t a different person when we were in the womb; we were just a smaller person.  And what does Divine Revelation tell us about human life?  The 5th Commandment says: thou shalt not kill.  We know that there are certain times when a killing might be justified – like in self-defense.  But there is no justification for the killing of innocent children.  It’s not a “choice.”

And we also can ask for the second understanding of faith: obedient trust in God.  That’s why married couples love each other without holding back.  That’s why a pregnant woman sees her baby as a blessing, rather than an “intrusion.”  That’s why a mother who has had an abortion experiences such pain and sorrow, and must be embraced by the Church as one of its wounded members.

And that’s why those of us with no stake in the argument take part in the greatest moral struggle of our time.  We know that every human life is precious, unique, with a God-given soul.  That is why we pray and sacrifice for all those involved in abortion. That is why we take an active part in the pro-life movement —to help women make the right choice for life. That is why we vote for pro-life candidates who will support pro-life judges.  We are called to know our faith, and most of all, we are called to live it.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty