WHY WE NEED TO CULTIVATE OUR FAITH IN GOD
We learn an important lesson from Judas. He was called and gifted to become one of Jesus’ disciples. He received faith to heal the sick and cast out demons. Yet St. John tells us, “When Judas had left them, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified.’” (Jn 13:31)
What made Judas lose his faith in Jesus and abandon the community of faith? He did so because he was fixated on the money to be gained by betraying Jesus. Though he “had the money box and used to take what was put into it,” (Jn 12:6) he still desired more money in a way that was contrary to the will of God for him. He boldly asked the Jewish leaders, “What will you give me if I deliver Him (Jesus) to you?” (Mt 26:15)
We too begin to lose our faith in God when we continue to want something that God does not want for us at the present moment. No matter how good or necessary something is, we must want it only as God wants it for us if we are going to keep our faith in God alive and strong. This is why Jesus asks us to act and speak like “unprofitable servants” (Lk 17:10) who obey Him in faith, doing all that He desires of us, and then wanting and accepting only what He gives to us.
In this life, we are not always successful, famous, healthy, loved, rich, etc. These things are contingent on factors beyond our control and God does not desire them for us always and everywhere. What God wants from us always is to be His disciples who love others as He has loved us, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another” (Jn 13:34).
After St. Paul was stoned in Lystra, he recovered and entered the city with a strong message about persevering in faith, “He exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, ‘It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God’”(Acts 14:22). He did not lose his faith because of the unprovoked beating he received. He also exhorted his audience not to lose their faith for anything. Without a strong and lively faith in Jesus Christ, we cannot love like Him, share in His love “that endures all things,”(1Cor 13:7) and so endure all the hardships that must be faced on our journey to God’s kingdom. In short, we cannot enter into heaven without a strong and lively faith in Jesus Christ.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there are so many things, persons, or events, in our world today that can tempt us to lose our faith in God. Our faith is usually endangered when we focus only on getting what we want or avoiding the things that we do not want without any sensitivity or openness towards what God really wants of us.
Thus, many people lose their faith today because of failed relationships, the death of loved ones, health problems, money issues, lack of jobs, evil and injustice, scandals in the Church, persecutions, etc. Some people even lose their faith in God because their preferred political candidates did not win elections! In addition, our inordinate attachment and desire for more money, power, and pleasure eventually lead us to forfeit our faith altogether.
Our faith will be alive and strong only when we cultivate it constantly and begin to want what God wants for us all the time – that we love others as He has loved us.
Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!