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Father Muench Says...

The powerful gift of my faith

May 3, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Easter is about faith.  I know that I have spoken about faith in my homilies often during this Easter time,so let us talk about faith today.

I experience a faith moment each time I go to anoint a dying person.  This morning I was asked to visit a woman at the Hospice Home here in the city.  The woman’s family was there and everyone gathered around her bed for prayers and the anointing.  She was in a deep sleep. 

At the beginning of the ritual, the prayers invite all to place their hands on the person and to pray silently.  I want you to know that today at that moment there was something special.  I experienced a deep faith in that room with that family.  I must admit that it touched me deeply.

I remember that later I had a thought that one day when my time comes that there will be someone or many there to place their hands on me during those prayers.    It was a faith moment; each person was silently sharing a deep faith with each other of us.

Each time I read the Scriptures of the Passion and Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus – privately or at Mass – I can only assume that those apostles went through a real crisis of faith.  Each of them were friends of Jesus. They were convinced of his message, he was their spiritual leader.  They found their faith in God and life through the message and life of Jesus.  Then everything crashed. Jesus was arrested and crucified.

Remember the story about St. Thomas.  After the crucifixion of Jesus, we are told that Thomas was not with the other apostles, especially when the risen Jesus comes to them.  Thomas just wanted to be alone.  All of his hopes for the Kingdom were destroyed.  Even when he finally joins the apostles again, he is still annoyed; their renewed happiness at seeing the Resurrected Jesus annoyed him.

“Unless I see the marks of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe,” Thomas said. Jesus does come again and Thomas believes – “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus then proclaims to us all, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Faith is such a powerful gift.  When we come to place our belief and confidence in God, everything changes about us.  Pope Francis tells us, “Faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation.”

I recognize I am the person I should be and have been able to live out my life in the way of Jesus because I have faith.  I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Master.  With Jesus I recognize the changes that I have made in my life every day.  Pope Francis reminds us that as people of faith, “Don’t get tired of bringing the mercy of the Father to the poor, the sick, the abandoned, the young people and families.”

As a priest, I have been with people, with families in truly terrible situations, tragedies, crises, and such.  There have been times in the hospital, at accident scenes, at a home with family problems – and I have watched them work their way through.  It has been amazing to watch.  I have asked some individuals how they have done it, how they worked their way through what seemed an impossible situation. So often the answer was “Father if it wasn’t for my faith, I could not have made it.

My faith has been strengthened and even formed over the years by my association with so many wonderful families in the various parishes I have been assigned.  They have been a powerful example.  They have truly transformed me.  And there have been so many. 

Every time I celebrate Mass, each time I pray, even every time I walk through a Church building I pray to the Lord for a stronger and more alive faith.  I know only too well my turn is coming and I know that I want the power of strong faith to meet that time.

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