Bulletin Article – August 27, 2023

Throughout the year, we present an article in the bulletin each week on a variety of topics, written by a member of our Parish staff on a rotating basis.

Growing In Faith

by Ruth Pera, Faith Formation Coordinator

Who do you say that I am?

Last week and this week, the Gospel readings focus on the faith of those surrounding Jesus. The faith of the Canaanite woman caught Jesus’ attention and brought about the healing of her daughter. Today, Jesus commends Peter’s faith which allows him to declare, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” A strong response from an often wandering Peter (and aren’t we glad to have him in the stories? A character in whom I can always find myself).

I often think of faith – particularly the kind displayed in these stories – as a certainty. A gut feeling, a knowing of who God is, or what God’s power could achieve, or of the depth of His love for each of us. A certainty which, if I’m honest, is fleeting and not easy to hold on to in my life, certainly not to the degree that would manifest a miracle. That depth of knowing feels so…out of reach sometimes.

But what if faith is less of a knowing and more of an openness? What if it’s less about knowing what will happen, or what God can do, and more of an open-armed welcome to whatever He has to give us? What if faith is less about holding onto God’s love with my arms wrapped around it tightly because I am so certain of it’s existence, and more of a wide-eyed approach to the curious world He created, seeking out the ways God wishes to reveal Himself in it? Stumbling into miracles as I follow the trail of God’s fingerprints into my life seems like something that might actually happen to me. I wonder if that is how the Canaanite woman felt, following a tinge of hope in her heart out of love for her daughter.

I’m not sure what I would say if Christ asked me, point blank, the question posed to the disciples in today’s Gospel. Every answer I can think of words for seems too small to capture the reality of who Christ really is. Holding onto the question itself, though, feels like an opportunity for Christ to show me, in his own way, who he is. I think that’s the path I want to take from here.

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