Faith is hard

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Put yourself in the place of the disciples—that “rag-tag” bunch who had fallen asleep while Jesus sweat drops of blood; His “friends” who had deserted Him in His greatest time of need; His “leader” upon whom He said he would build His Church—the one who had blatantly denied Him three times. These were the men to whom Jesus appears offering only PEACE. Could they face him? Could they look Him in the eye? Yet in His mercy all their betrayal was forgiven.
And of course, there is always “the doubter”—Thomas could not believe his friends, the men he’d hung out with for three years when they jubilantly told him they had seen the Risen Lord. So again, in His mercy with no condemnation, Jesus comes again so that Thomas, too, will believe.
Faith is hard—as Linda so well discussed in last week’s reflection. Our scientific era causes us to believe only what we can see or prove. Not so with faith. By its very definition, having faith in something is believing something in we cannot see. Our faith in God and all His works is a gift from Him. It is a gift we can accept or refuse. Just as His disciples did and people have through the ages, we can and should instruct one another by our words and actions. But it is God who takes those lessons, roots them and makes them grow. While He can do all things, for faith to seed and grow, He needs an open mind, an open heart and a willingness to let Him enter and take root.
Unlike many gifts, the gift of faith is a living, growing entity that needs to be nourished – nourished by prayer, the Eucharist and reconciliation both by Sacrament and by the forgiveness and mercy of one another. It is the gift that will carry us through the “ups and downs” of life.
In psalm 147, the Israelites have just returned to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon. They are rejoicing and remembering all the great things the Lord has done for them.

“He has declared His words to Jacob, His statues and His ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt this way with any other nation. As for His ordinances,
They have not been made known to them. Praise the Lord!”

He has given us His gift of faith, not everyone has received that gift. Some have not had the opportunity, some have refused it. We have just completed 40 days of prayer and sacrifice to prepare us for the greatest feast of the Church—and of our lives. Let us spend the 50 days of the Easter Season as “Resurrection People” thanking God for the great gift of His Passion, Death and Resurrection and the faith to rejoice in it! May each of us experience His Peace!

Linda Caminiti