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Father Muench Says...

‘Help my unbelief’

July 5, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I often like to preach the homily at Mass with a consideration of our faith, our trust in the Lord. As followers of Jesus and members of the Catholic Church, everything begins and ends with our faith. Each Sunday at Mass, we proclaim our Catholic faith for all to hear by saying together the Creed, by proclaiming that “I believe in God.” I want all to know that my concern as a Catholic is my relationship with God. I love and adore and am ready to obey my God. My relationship with Jesus is an important part of my faith. The Lord saved me, and so I know I can always trust him to protect me. In love Jesus wants to be my friend, a forgiving friend. My faith is a free, human act that leads me to the Lord Jesus in all my actions and decisions, and I testify to this each time I pray the Creed.

Each of us, Catholics, have many wonderful and meaningful ways to declare our faith and to strengthen our readiness to trust our God. We may be reminded by the crucifix over the altar; it may be a favorite prayer, something like the Lord’s Prayer; it may be a hymn that we join in at Mass and then remember all during the day. These are opportunities to trust our God and seek the love and protection of Our God.

The challenge for us is to remain strong in faith, especially in our good relationship with Our Savior, and to do it not only when we need help or protection in a crisis. Do I only turn to the Lord when life is difficult or unhappy? God should be part of my life on the good days as well.

To teach faith I always go to Sacred Scripture, especially St. Matthew’s Gospel story of Jesus who joins the apostles in a boat sailing across the Lake of Gennesaret. As they progress, a storm begins, we are told, that the apostles become very afraid. Jesus, however, is asleep in the back of the boat. They always depend on the power of the Lord, so they awaken him with the question, “Master, do you not care about us?” Jesus calms the storm and then turns to his apostles, “Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?” I know that the Lord speaks to me in this way when I have my doubts about the Lord’s concern for me.

I know only too well that there are challenging days when my faith and trust is the Lord Jesus is weak, my doubts great – the day when storms come into my life and, in fear, I forget the Lord. I truly lose my faith. I doubt God’s concern for me. I forget the words of the Lord: “Do not be afraid.”

Jesus says, that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we will be able to move mountains. No, I have never moved a mountain. I realize my faith is not what it should be. I know the Lord Jesus is serious about the power of faith. He wants me to bring his love and peace into this world and that truly needs the power of faith. This is as great as moving a mountain. I know I must never give up praying and seeking a new and more powerful faith. I must realize that God will support and guide me. I must have confidence in God. Each time I celebrate the Holy Eucharist, I must pray that the Lord will strengthen my faith and trust in this Savior of mine. I have so much to accomplish these days, especially as I grow older.

I remember often the story in the Gospels of the man who came to seek the Lord Jesus’ healing for his son who was suffering so much. Jesus asked him if he believed that he could do this. The man responded, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

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