Living the Faith Courageously
Our Lord today compares the Kingdom of Heaven with a mustard seed. A mustard seed is very small but in Palestine it grows very quickly into a large, broad tree in which the birds can make their nests. This is like the Church. It began very small, but it grew very quickly, spreading all over the earth so that souls could shelter in her branches.
Why did the Church grow so quickly? There are two reasons – the work of God and the work of man. God worked many miracles to confirm the words of the Apostles and the truth of the Christian faith. People would have been impressed by what they saw and then came to believe. Then there was also the work of man. Those who became believers embraced the teachings of Christ and put it into practice in their lives, sometimes heroically. Their wonderful example made a big impression on others and converted those who were open to accepting the truth.
God is still working miracles today which are accessible to those who are open to the truth. Think of the very public Miracle of the Sun at Fatima in 1917 witnessed by 70,000 people and even reported in the Communist newspaper, not to mention the many other miraculous cures that came with it. Then there are the amazing miracles of St Padre Pio who only died in 1968 – within the lifetimes of many of us. Then we have the incorrupt bodies of the saints like St Bernadette, preserved intact in the convent of Nevers in France. There are the numerous Eucharistic miracles, one of which I mentioned in last weekend’s newsletter. These wonders still happen today for those who are open to accepting it.
So God is still doing His part, but what about us? The Church in the West is no longer growing at such a rapid rate as it once did. Rather we see the opposite happening. Churches, seminaries and convents are all closing. What has happened to courageous faith? Do we proclaim loudly the sometimes hard truths JESUS taught us, or are we embarrassed or afraid to do so? Does the way we live our lives reflect our faith and belief in Christ, or are we the same as everyone else? Do I live a moral life according to the teaching of Christ and the Church He founded?
Let us ask God to help us all live our faith more courageously and for a new spread of the Church throughout the world as it was in the beginning and down through the ages. Let us be bold and live the faith with courage.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC