Consider this… is faith dying?

‘When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ (Lk. 18:8) This line from our Gospel this weekend asks a pointed question to all of us. Will Jesus find faith? How is our faith?

This month will mark two years that Fr. Luke and I have been assigned to St. Mary’s. As we arrived in the midst of the pandemic, it was a strange way to begin an assignment. We were unable to meet the parish and, in many cases, two years later we still don’t know who hasn’t returned. Just this week someone shared that there are many who never came back after the pandemic.

This week we need to ask ourselves, what is faith? A wise priest once shared with me that faith is surrendering to God’s will and not my own. I find this a good definition of faith, believing that God’s will and way is better than mine. Faith then requires a relationship with God, and that relationship is always done in community. Certainly, we have our private prayer life and can accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but as Catholics we can’t be separated from the Sacraments. The Sacraments, which can all be found in scripture, are an encounter with Jesus and community. The Sacraments are ways we come together in relationship with others. The Eucharist we celebrate on Sunday is celebrated in community so that we  worship God together, pray together and for one another, encourage and support one another as we prepare to go out into the world on mission.

What does this mean for us this week? It means we need to actively reach out to those we aren’t seeing in the pews.

A number of weeks ago, I asked the ushers to keep track of attendance at all of our masses. This is being done for our own information as well as preparing for the Renewal. Our new church seats about 900 without packing people in. Did you know that ALL of our masses could fit into one? Did you know that not one mass needs to utilize the new church, all of them could easily fit into the chapel (old church). Our top attended mass last weekend had 233 people at it. Where are all of the others? How many do you know that aren’t coming anymore?

I share this information so we realize that there is much work to be done! All of us need to invite and encourage others on their faith journey. Have that conversation with someone, offer to pick them up, say you’ll treat them to coffee and a donut after. We need to do something! If we understand our faith, we need to understand the responsibility given to us to help build the Kingdom of God. Jesus did it by constant invitation and calling of his disciples. That invitation and call is now our responsibility as his disciples today.

Faith dies when we do nothing. If we want faith to thrive then we need to be actively engaged in that faith. This week, make every effort you can to call, invite, encourage one person/family to come back, and surrender to God’s will in their life.

Keep smiling

Fr. Bryan