"Have faith, will travel" is usually the last thing that I tell someone when we are finished discussing something major.
I find that to also be true of the Gospel readings that I have been entrusted to reflect upon. Jesus reiterates, reinforces and refocuses his disciples and us to know that we have FAITH.
The Gospel of the 5th Sunday of Easter finds Jesus telling his followers that he is whom we are to have faith in and through him we can find, see, hear and feel the Father. Yet, doubt always creeps in, even with the truth staring us right in the face.
Philip matter-of-factly asks Jesus, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." REALLY!
What happened to Philip is what happens to many of us today. We need to realize that our faith is not just in Jesus Christ and what he means to us as his followers, but that he truly is the way and the truth leading to the Father.
In so trying to live with what they believe and understand, the 6th Sunday of Easter brings them having to come to grips with the departure of Jesus. I just ask myself: What did their hearts feel, their eyes reveal, their ears really hear? Their faith was being tested, yet again, what with our Savior trying to let them know he was going away, and this time for good. It’s amazing the grace that was given to these humble men, who will be without the physical man of Jesus, and all that he represented.
Yet, aren’t we also like them? We have so much surrounding us that is evidence of this great gift, who is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We need to make use of the grace given to us every day, the mercy shown to us every day, and certainly the faith to experience all of it.
One of the most beautiful things that we have as Catholics and believers in the risen Christ is the mission of being a sacramental church.
Our 7th Sunday of Easter allows us to hear Jesus praying. It is a prayer that allows us to truly see Jesus’ mission: that humankind come to know the one true God. We must come with faith, to the realization that through Jesus Christ and what he did for us is and was the ultimate form of love. How is this sacramental? It is through the mission that was given to the disciples, the truth of Jesus, and what he did for us, his death and resurrection, that we continue to glorify, praise, celebrate (our sacraments) and then share his words, thoughts and actions. We are the living Eucharist, the center of our faith and one that can’t and shouldn’t be contained. This is our faith and our mission as baptized followers of Jesus.
We come to a most glorious celebration, full of vigor and representative of life: Pentecost Sunday. It is interesting that we go back to the day that Jesus is resurrected and in the midst of his disciples. They find peace not because that is what he first spoke, but because he is there with them and they feel safe. This is amazing grace and truly the show of a love so deep along with the GIFT: that of the Holy Spirit. But with it comes the task of going forth, putting into action their faith, bringing peace to others who are living in conflict, in familial discord, living injustices, and so on.
We too are called to affirm our baptism through the gifts and fruits that are given with reception of Confirmation and the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility isn’t to keep it in for only ourselves. We need to be like the disciples at receiving the Spirit. Let us embrace it, call on it, pray for its assistance. Let us use what Pentecost is all about, relative to our faith: to be a people forging peace, love, hope and forgiveness all in the name of the one who died for us.
And so in ending, we come to Holy Trinity Sunday. Here, for us, the focus should be on what the St. John says. God loved his world so much that he sent Jesus, his only son to save us. Our faith needs to focus wholeheartedly on this. The love of God without bounds. His mercy enduring, His wanting to give us life everlasting among many other things that he gives us. Nothing is better than this. Is this not the basis for our Christian faith? Is this not what we try to live for?
Is this not what we want our children to take away in coming to know about the Trinity and what it represents? God calls us to live a full life, with him along for the ride. But we need not forget that with faith, we can travel much farther.
Nunez is faith-formation direction at Rochester’s Holy Apostles Parish.