Showing We Have The Gift Of Faith
Saturday of Octave of Easter in Eastertide
Acts. 4:13-21 & Mk. 16:9-15
Faith is a gift from God. It is not something we can earn or acquire by our own efforts. No one knows why God apparently gives it to one and not to another. A person can read the whole Bible, study the best of theologians, listen to the most persuasive of preachers and still not have the faith.
Peter and John, as we learn in today's first reading, went about preaching the resurrection of Jesus, even curing a cripple as a sign that their words were from God. And still the officials of the time would not believe them. Even Mary Magdalene announced to the followers of Jesus the good news that she had seen Him alive after His death, and they refused to believe her. But we should not be surprised for it is no easy thing to believe that a man had come back from the dead!
What ought to fill us with wonder and gratitude is the fact that we have been fortunate to receive the gift of faith. Once given this free gift we have a responsibility to guard it, to ask God to increase it and nourish it on the Sacraments. The day will come when each one of us who has been favoured with such a privileged gift will have to give an account as to how we used it.
Jesus told His apostles in today's Gospel reading, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation”. If we are to spread the good news we must have a clear understanding of it. The apostles were convinced that Jesus was risen and they believed all that He had taught them, so when they spoke to others they did so with confidence. This made them so persuasive that people were willing to listen. If they had not conveyed Jesus' message there would be no Church today.
Not everyone can preach by word the good news. Lay people are not expected to stand in the pulpit or in the street proclaiming their faith. But they are expected to spread His message by doing their daily work in an honest and conscientious way. A business person can be an evangelist simply by being honest in all his or her dealings. A greengrocer could easily donate some over-ripe tomatoes which would otherwise have to be thrown away to an old age pensioner. These are just a couple of very practical examples of how the loving message which Jesus taught can be demonstrated effectively. But we must never do this in an insensitive manner.
Holy Spirit, give me the wisdom to convey the good news to people by example, with conviction and sensitivity, and give the gift of faith to those who are receptive to it.