5 Faith Fundamentals
User’s Guide to Sunday, Oct. 2
The readings for today’s Mass richly describe some essential qualities of faith. There are five fundamentals that can be seen:
Wanting: “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (Luke 17:5-6). When we really want something (provided it is not an impossibility), we usually get it. That’s because we work at it and have a passion for it. Hence, the apostles ask for a deeper desire to know the Lord.
Waiting: Today’s first reading speaks of our need to wait for the Lord’s action: “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene. … Then the Lord answered … the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late” (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4).
Waiting is one of the great mysteries of the Christian life. Nevertheless, Scripture consistently tells us that we must learn to wait for the Lord and that there are blessings for those of us who do.
Withstanding: Today’s second reading counsels us, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control ... [and] bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God” (2 Timothy 1:6-8).
This passage tells us that life has difficulties and challenges. Becoming a Christian does not necessarily make things easier.
In fact, things often get harder because we must endure the hatred and ridicule of the world.
Thus a fundamental of the Christian faith is that we be able to withstand such trials with courage.
Working: Today’s Gospel teaches, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do’” (Luke 17:6-10). The flesh expects, even demands, rewards. But God can never be indebted to us — never.
If we have good works, they are not our gift to God; they are his gift to us.
Winning: We conclude with a reference back to the first reading: “For the vision still has its time, it presses on to fulfillment and it will not disappoint.
If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late” (Habakkuk 2:3). See what the end shall be! It is true that we must want, wait, withstand, and work, but we do not do so for no reason.
We have a cross to carry, but if we carry it with the Lord, we carry it to glory; for all those who walk with Jesus on the way of the cross, there is victory ahead.
Even here in this life we already enjoy the fruits of crosses past.
Our withstanding in the past has given us strength for today. Our waiting in the past has had its fulfillment and provides the hope that our current waiting will also have its fruit.
Our past work, by God’s grace, has already granted benefits to us and to others.
If we want, wait, withstand, and work, we will win! I promise it to you in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- user's guide to sunday
- user’s guide to sunday
- msgr. charles pope
- faith in action
- carrying one's cross