29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2016 4:00pm, 9:30 and 11:15am
Saint Mary Parish, Pylesville
“Will he find faith…?”
So, Jesus asks: “When the Son of God comes, will he find any faith on earth?”
When Jesus asks “Will the Son of God find faith on the earth?” he is referring to the woman in the parable tat we just heard. You remember.
This woman, a widow, just won’t give up asking a judge for a fair response to her request. One of our Catholic authors says that Jesus is not using this woman’s faith as an example of persons who know all the teachings in the catechism, as good as that might be – so, not that kind of faith.
Instead, he uses her as an example of persons who trust in God, persons who trust in God regardless of what is going on in their lives. These persons center their lives on God when things are good and they turn to God when things are tough.
There are several other places in the gospel where Jesus says to people, “Your faith has saved you.” He says this as he heals people physically, emotionally or spiritually.
And when Jesus says “Your faith has saved you,” he means that they trust in God in their heart. They have opened themselves to a personal relationship with God that is heart-centered and not just head-centered.
They pray to God out of their hearts. They trust that God is with them and caring for them, even if things are difficult.
They may not fully understand the ways of God and they may be living a very imperfect life, but they have this heart faith, this trust in God. And this trust is first and foremost a matter of the heart.
A Trusting, Heart Faith
So, this seems to be the kind of faith that Jesus is talking about here.
You know, today and every Sunday, we recite the Profession of Faith here at Mass. It is an important expression of our faith.
But, we have to make sure that this is not just a mental, an intellectual thing, a head faith. We have to make sure that there is a trusting, heart faith at the basis of this.
This seems to be what Pope Francis has been getting at. He has not been hammering away at just two or three points of doctrine or moral teaching.
Instead, Pope Francis has been focusing more on the love and mercy and goodness of God and on our need to have a trusting relationship with God. He seems to see this as the core of faith.
He is calling us to live with this inner sense of God, of Jesus being with us through it all. And he is calling us to do our best to live out of this relationship.
Heart Faith and Pope Francis
Maybe this is why Pope Francis sees the Church, to use his image, as a large home for many and not as a little chapel for a few.
Maybe this is why the Pope seems reluctant to exclude people from the community of the Church. At one point, he even says that “the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
So, maybe the bottom-line test of being part of God’s family is not that we live perfectly or that we agree with each other on everything. Maybe the test is that we try to embrace this kind of trusting, heart faith that Jesus lifts up today.