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What Is Faith?

Faith: Many of us use the term frequently, but what does it really mean? Those familiar with the movie Miracle on 34th Street will recall the quote, “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to”. While not an authoritative theological source by any means, that quote really hits the nail on the head.

In the First Reading from today’s Mass (Heb 11:1-2, 8-19), we read:

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.

The remainder of the reading discusses the faith of Abraham, who trusted in The Lord even though it didn’t make sense. A contrasting example can be found in today’s gospel (Mk 4:35-41) when the disciples panic when they encounter rough seas. They are so terrified that they awaken Jesus who replied, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

The Church teaches that God’s will is perfect. If we trust Him, everything that happens in our lives can help us attain eternal life in Heaven. This is easy to accept when things make sense, but how can we accept a death in our family, the loss of a job or physical illness? Surely, these things can’t be good for us, can they?

Many times in our lives it seems like Jesus is asleep. He doesn’t seem to be around when we are experiencing difficulties. Today’s gospel reading assures us that He is always aware of the turmoil in our lives. The question we need to ask is: do we have the faith of Abraham or the faith of the disciples in the boat? Unfortunately, most of us fall into the latter category at least some of the time. Today, let’s pray for an increase in our faith so that, like Abraham, we can trust God even when it doesn’t make sense.

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