From the Pastor – September 29, 2019

He said, “Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets.  Let them listen to them.”
He said, “Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.”
Then Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” (Lk 16:27-31)

What is faith?  How do we get it, and where does it come from?  St. Thomas classically defined faith as: “the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God.”

But sometimes things are made easier by looking at examples. In his Letter to the Hebrews, St. Paul tells us that faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, ” and then he gives us an example of people with faith: “By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s”;  “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death”; “By faith Noah built an ark for the salvation of his household”; “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the Promised Land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God.” (Heb. 11)

But all of these Biblical fathers these died in faith.  They did not receive what had been promised.

Jesus gives us a little reminder about faith this weekend.  Although he came as the fulfillment of all of the faith that was in the greatest of the faithful children of Israel, He knew that His conception, His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection would not be enough to cause everyone to believe.  As a famous economist once said: “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”

So where does that leave us?  Sometimes it leaves us questioning our faith.  And sometimes events in our lives can find us strengthened in our faith.  And it the midst of the doubt, we should use the same prayer that the Apostles made to Jesus: “Lord, increase our faith!” (Lk 17:5).  But we do know that faith comes from God as a gift of the Holy Spirit.  And as St. Paul told us in Romans: “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17).  Attendance at Mass and constant contact with the living word of God in Scripture gives us faith.  We get it, and we pass it along.  Your Savior has risen from the dead.  Keep the faith!

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty