Enriching Our Life of Faith

FAITH. That is the word I would use to summarize the Gospel readings for the two weeks covered by this bulletin as well as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Faith as described by the dictionary is a confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, view or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It is also commonly interchanged with hope, belief and trust. Now that you know the technical meaning of the word let’s see how it applies to the Gospels.

In the Gospel of Matthew read on August 9/10 we hear the familiar story of Jesus walking on water. Knowing Jesus and the miracles he could perform that is not altogether surprising. Where the test of faith comes in is when Jesus commands Peter to do the same. Peter did as instructed until he became frightened and lost faith. When the faith is lost that is when he begins to sink.

What a great lesson that is for each of us; isn’t that true for many of us when we lose our faith? It can apply to almost any situation. What happens when we lose faith in our spouse, children, co-workers, community leaders, politicians? Don’t we begin to sink? How can a marriage survive when one spouse loses faith in the other? A family may begin to crumble when a parent loses faith in a child or vice-versa. A job can become a battle ground and mistrust and chaos can develop when we lose faith in our leaders. Faith is essential, without it we sink just as Peter did. Thankfully for Peter, Jesus was there to catch him just as he continually catches us.

In the reading of the Gospel according to Luke on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary we hear of the enormous faith that Mary has in the Lord. Mary, approached by the Angel Gabriel, had the faith in the Lord to accept what would seem impossible. She was to bear a child though she was still a virgin. Elizabeth, who was thought to be barren, feels the infant in her womb upon the arrival of Mary. Sara understands Mary’s great faith and says to her, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

I would think that very few of us would have the faith that Mary did. Can you imagine being approached by an angel and be open enough to trust in the Lord, to accept the impossible? I don’t know if many of us would be that accepting. Mary is a true disciple of the Lord and, as such, she is highly favored. Such faith is something for which we may consider to strive.

Again in the Gospel of Mathew, on August 16/17, we hear of a Canaanite woman who shows great faith in Jesus.  Jesus seems to ignore her and his disciples even want to send her away. She responds to Jesus’ response to her plea for help with a twist on his same words. It is this faith that Jesus so admires that he proclaims how great is her faith and gives her as she wishes. Essentially, in the end, her faith heals her daughter.

These three Gospels give wonderful examples of the power of faith. Have you ever given any thought to your own faith life? How deep is your faith and has it ever been tested such as with these three individuals? Are you able to trust in the Lord enough to walk on water such as Peter is called to do? Would you change your entire life and future such as Mary, and do you have enough faith and trust to ask for the healing of a loved one?

Another way to look at it is; what is your life like without faith? Peter begins to sink when he loses faith. Do we do the same? I would think our lives would be quite empty, almost as if we are missing out on something. Faith can be very fulfilling; giving meaning to what may otherwise be a very empty existence. In every life there is always room for improvement. Perhaps developing a closer, faith-filled relationship with the Lord is worth the time and effort.

One way to develop this relationship is to attend Mass every weekend, make confessions regularly and, perhaps, even attend a few weekday Masses. Spend some quiet time in prayer each day and pray with your families. There are always faith centered groups to join including the Women’s Bible Study, Saturday Scripture Group and Divine Mercy to name a few here at St. Peter’s. There are retreats and other educational opportunities presented throughout the year. Opportunities abound to enrich your faith life, why not give some a try?

This Friday, August 15, is a Holy Day of Obligation for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We will offer Mass on Thursday evening at 5 p.m. in the Main Church, Friday morning at 9 a.m. in the Main Church and Friday evening at 7 p.m. in the Historic Church. Please find time to attend one of these Masses.

On another note…We are still waiting to hear who our new pastor will be. Please be patient as the Archdiocese and the Clergy Assignment Board make the effort to find a good fit for our parish. In the meantime, keep St. Peter’s in your prayers.

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