Year of Faith

“I prayed and the spirit of Wisdom was given to me…. (1st Reading)

“The word of God is alive and active; it cuts like any double-edged sword…judging our most secret emotions and thoughts… (2nd Reading)

“Go sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and come, follow me…”  (Gospel)

The readings we have just heard are all about what is of greatest value in our lives, what it is that will bring real & lasting fulfilment, and therefore true happiness…

The answer given is clear: Wisdom and the Word of God.

‘Compared to Wisdom’ the author of the first reading tells us, ‘I held riches as nothing. I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer, for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand…’

And then, the word of God opens us to all that is true and right, all that gives life…

Now, Jesus is the Word of God and the wisdom of God in flesh and blood.

And He is the one in whom you and I believe.

It is he who brings us together here today. It is his life, and especially his passion and death that we enter into in celebrating the Eucharist, as we entered into it at the beginning when we were immersed in the waters of Baptism.

“There is nothing more beautiful than to know Christ

And to speak to others of our friendship with him”.

These are not my words. They are the words of our Holy Father. His constant theme since he became Pope has been friendship with Jesus, from the first homily at his inauguration Mass on 25 April 2005. Listen to what he said on that occasion ‘The church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance’.  

Friends know each other, and if friendships are to survive and deepen, then it can only happen if we spend time together, and grow in our knowledge of each other.

That was Jesus’ plea to the rich young man in the Gospel today: “Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, [‘There is one thing you lack. Go sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then] come, follow me.’”

Jesus is not condemning the man or his riches, but challenging him about his priorities, reminding him of something we all know deep down in our hearts’ core: it is friendship and love we crave, to be in relationship and not alone, which is the desert… and the world we live in can be a desert for us in so many ways… and yes, even the best human relationships in our lives cause pain and anguish… So Jesus is saying to the young man today Yes, you have so much going for you, so many gifts and riches in this life, but come and nourish what is fundamental, what will sustain when all things fail and life is difficult, come follow me: know me, I who am Wisdom, and Word of God in flesh and blood like yours… that you may have life and joy… but the young man went away sad… and it broke Jesus’ heart. Our sadness always breaks the heart of God, for he did not make us for that…but for life in its fullness, for joy everlasting.

So the Year of Faith is a call to us all to look again at our faith, to reflect on it, and study it, even in a little way. As adults, grown men and women. To listen as if for first time to the word of God, to give time to prayer and meditation, to study the faith…

It is above all a call to nourish and deepen our relationship, our friendship with Jesus Christ… to become his disciple anew…

To be a man or woman of faith is about being humble and small enough to begin again, and again… and again…

So we pray that this will be a year when we will do what we can to deepen our faith, to come to know and understand it better, to grow in friendship with Jesus… so that we will be good disciples and apostles, sharing our convictions simply with others…