Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - ' I BELIEVE"
For many, in today's age of technological wonder and scientific discovery, faith, increasingly, is becoming a fairly old-fashioned word. But it has been a deep-seated faith going back to Abraham, our Father in Faith, that has given rise to our whole Christian culture. Today's readings remind us of this as we recall the early seeds of Faith coming to fruition in Christ and inspiring succeeding generations to an understanding of life and its overall purpose.

Wisdom 18: 6-9 - As they recalled the events surrounding their liberation from the Egyptians, the Hebrew people realized that they were part of an immense plan of divine Providence around which future history would be structured.

Hebrews 11: 1-2, 8-19 - The unknown author of the Letter to the Hebrews is seeking to strengthen the faith of the persecuted Christian community, so they can understand their conversion from Judaism is not a betrayal of their ancient traditions, but a further unfolding of the Divine plan of Salvation in which Christ is a cornerstone.

Luke 12: 32-48 - Our eternal destiny is to be earned through our use of the present moment! Daily life is full of opportunities that must be taken, and these opportunities are only recognized by a faith governed commitment.

Point 1 - "Growth in Faith" is a phrase that Christians are constantly hearing. It is the theme of dozens of seminars; it provides the title for countless books, and every homily given, in some way or another, is designed to promote it. But Faith is not an easy virtue to grasp and to hold on to. We all have moments of doubts and uncertainties. Look at daily life independent of religious thinking. The question of employment? Do we quit the job we have because it is taking us nowhere, to try for a new one that, on the surface, appears to offer more challenge? What form of discipline do we adopt to train an unruly child? Do we buy a new car or a new house? Sometimes our hesitation in these matters is due to lack of willpower; at other times, it is due to lack of reliable information; and, at other times, it is simply because we lack the courage to take the plunge.

Point 2: The matter of religious faith is no different! We waver between faith and unbelief and this worries us. It shouldn't! Faith has a growth factor and needs to develop once it has been implanted into our consciousness. The approach is different for each person and while it is natural to maintain a healthy scepticism about many things, one simply cannot be sceptical about everything. Life cannot be lived that way. We need to trust and to be trusted.

Point 3: That is what Faith is about, and that is why a Christian response to life's situations depends, in large measure, upon Faith; a Faith that has been tried and proven throughout centuries. A Faith that teaches us that in death life is changed, not taken away; and that our daily routine contributes to, or detracts from, that eternal hope. A Faith that had its genesis so many centuries ago, as we profess regularly in the First Eucharistic Prayer where we acknowledge the history of Abel, of Abraham and of Melchisdech; a faith that, for us, came to fulfillment in the person of Christ; but, a Faith that, in many respects, is also shared by all whose lives are governed by a sense of the presence of God.

Conclusion: Practically, then, when we talk about religious Faith, we ought not see it as a single, cut-and-dried fact - we believe or we do not believe. Actually, it is a leap into the unknown that we must revise and renew frequently as the implications and opportunities of Christian commitment constantly unfold to our understanding.

Scriptural reference: For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.