Padre Pio once said about Faith
We must remember that faith is the greatest gift that God has offered man on this earth, because from an earthly man he becomes a citizen of Heaven. Let us guard this great gift jealously. Woe to him who forgets himself, who forgets Heaven, whose faith grows weak, and worse still (may God preserve us all) who denies his faith. This is the greatest affront that man can offer to God.1
Today’s readings are highlighting how important it is to have faith. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom is referring to the faith and trust the Hebrew slaves had when they left the cruel servitude in Egypt to go out into the desert. The passage from the Letter to the Hebrews outlines several acts of faith principally through the actions of Abraham and Sarah; all of these actions grounded in faith.
However, it is in today’s Gospel; which is a continuation from last week’s Gospel, where we heard about the wealthy man who built bigger barns to hoard his belongings; that we are reminded that where we see our treasure; that is where our heart will be. That will be where we focus our energies.
The disciples are urged to sell their possessions, to help them keep their whole focus on serving the Lord. They are encouraged to always be ready. This is not just a warning of not being caught out; this is a clear message to us to live out our faith. We are not meant just to come to Mass on Sunday and then go off and do whatever we please, this is not a ‘tick box exercise’.
If we look at ourselves carefully and honestly, can we really say that we are ready to face the Lord? I know that I need to work harder to be ready. Too often in the past and sometimes even now, I know that my focus has not been right. My attention is drawn to worldly things, possessions, gadgets, other ‘must have’ items, which do nothing to get me to my heavenly home. I can find myself wasting time by playing puzzles; time which could be better spent in prayer. I can fritter away time reading Facebook or Twitter; time which could be spent reading Scriptures.
God asks us to be faithful servants.
In our busyness, is there a danger that we are trying to squeeze God in?
Do we sometimes fall into the trap of giving God the time we have left over after doing the things we enjoy?
How do we measure up to Padre Pio’s statement? Do we guard the gift of our faith jealously? Do we treat our faith as ‘the greatest gift God has given’ to us? If not, why not?
The things of this world which attract us are nothing compared to the treasures which await us in heaven. Jesus is telling us to put our trust in Him. Store up treasures in heaven by our good deeds; treasures in heaven are incorruptible. The latest gadgets, the smartest watches and the fastest computers will all seem old hat this time next year. They all too quickly become items which go into our junk drawer or the bag for the Charity shop. None of this applies to the treasure we can accumulate in heaven.
Jesus tells us that he has high expectations of us. He has given us Faith as well as other gifts and talents; He expects us to use them to build up His Kingdom. The more gifts we have the more we are expected to do. There is no hiding from this, it is quite clearly written in today’s Gospel. For those of us given responsibility within the Church there is even more expected of us.
Please pray for deacons, priests and bishops, that they may all live up to the responsibility they have accepted; may they serve God and God’s people and live out their vocation to the best of their ability.
Pray also for the laity, that they can support their clergy to help build up the Church, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
CCC 144-149: the obedience of faith
CCC 1817-1821: the virtue of hope
CCC 2729-2733: prayer as humble vigilance of heart
CCC 144-146, 165, 2572, 2676: Abraham, a model of faith
Please keep in your prayers this week
- The Ukrainian and Russian people, may they be able to live in peace.
- Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- All those travelling, that they will arrive safely at their destination.
- All school children, teachers and other staff members of our schools, that they have good holidays, keep safe and well during their time away from school.
- All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
- All the priests who will be moving to new roles this September.
- Bridget as she continues her journey in Faith by receiving First Holy Communion and Confirmation this weekend.
- Reeve and Foster who will be baptised this Saturday in St Bede’s
Deacon Tony Darroch 5th August 2022.
1 Padre Pio on Faith – from Dorothy Gaudiose, Prophet of the People, Alba House, NY, NY. p. 33 quoted on VaticanCatholic.com available at Padre Pio On The Faith & Pleasing God Alone (vaticancatholic.com) accessed 4th August 2022