Our faith is a gift from God.

05-14-2017HomiliesDeacon Mike Woiwode

Have you ever received a gift that you didn't know how to use? It was a gift that you wanted and needed, so you really need to figure out how to use it. Or maybe you ordered something and when it came in, it needed to be assembled and the instructions were too confusing to understand. When this happens, what do you do? In both cases, we would get help putting it together or get someone to teach us how to use the gift. For me, the gift I got was a new, updated, full of options that I couldn't live without, cell phone. My family insisted that I update my old, simple to use, limited cell phone for a new, packed with options I will probably never use, phone. Now, I have a gift that is filled with features that are beyond my abilities to master. I now need help on how to use it to make a call. Thank God I still have a teenager in my household. I am learning that in order to get my phone to do what I need it to do, I must follow the procedures set up in the phone. Just one wrong click on an icon and I am asking my daughter, "How did I get here and how do I get back to where I wanted to go? Even though I will always find my gift, my cell phone, difficult, confusing, and frustrating, I still see the advantages and the potential this gift can have if I just learn and obey how to use it properly.

Our faith is a gift from God. Like a cell phone, our faith is sometimes beyond our abilities, can be difficult, confusing, and even frustrating at times. But we can still see the need and the purpose of this awesome gift from God. Our faith's goal, its purpose, is our salvation and if we don't accept, obey and follow the promptings of our faith, this God given gift will become unnecessary in our lives. In today's first reading from Acts, it says, "even a large number of disciples and priests were becoming obedient to the faith." In 1 Peter, we are told, "The stone (Jesus) that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone" and "a stone that will make people stumble and a rock that will make them fail." We too, if we reject Jesus, will stumble and fall into sin. In today's Gospel from John, Jesus tells us, "You have faith in God, have faith in me also." So we know that God has given us faith. We know that, to know our faith, we must know Jesus.

To profit from our faith, we must obey its promptings. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus. The Father is the one who has given us this gift, so Jesus is in our faith. We are to be in the Father with Jesus. We seem to be able to master the cell phone. We seem to be okay with the fact that we must learn the functions of our phones and then we must obey the procedures on using the cell phone. We must ask ourselves, Do we spend the same amount of time learning our faith as we do learning about our cell phones? And do we turn to our phones for help, answers and enjoyment more than we use our faith to help us, to find answers and joy in our lives? Does our faith add more to our lives than our cell phones do? Is it easier for us to live our lives without our faith than it would be to live our lives without our cell phones? Many of us would panic if we lost our phone. Many of us would be lost if we had to go a few days without our phones. Do we take our phones with us everywhere we go but not our faith? Do we count on our phones to keep us connected and informed with the world more often than we turn to our faith to keep us connected to God and others. Do we use our phones to communicate with others more often than we use our faith to bond with others by actually talking, not texting them?

We all know that God's gift of faith is beyond all things. Let's work towards making our faith the "go to place" in our lives. Let's learn our faith, live our faith, and follow Jesus on His path of our salvation.