Choose Faith!

St. John the Baptist

2nd Sunday of Advent 2023

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: December 10, 2023

During a visit to one of our Catholic high schools, a young student was speaking to me and he told me that he no longer believed in God.  He was a serious and good young man.  This was something that he had really reflected on for some time.  I realized that he was actually going through what we sometimes call the “dark night of the soul.”

When we do not sense or feel or experience the reality of God.  Any faith we may have had at one time seems to be gone.  It can feel somewhat empty.  What we do not always realize is that this “dark night of the soul” is actually part of the journey of moving to a deeper and truer faith.  It clears away childish and simplistic faith and leads to something deeper.

For faith is not a feeling, it is a choice.  Just as deep love is not a feeling, it is a choice.  At times our love may be full of feeling, but it is in choosing to love even when the feelings are not strong that leads to deeper love.  Also with faith, it is in choosing faith even when there are no feelings of God that leads us to a deeper faith.

God wants to be known by us.  God chooses to reveal God self to us.  God wants to be loved. It is not that we long or desire or search for God.  It is God who longs and desires and searches for us.  God wants to be revealed to us.

God is infinite, eternal spirit.  We human beings are finite creatures.  Therefore we are not able to see or experience God directly.  It is always indirectly through created reality that God is revealed to us.  God is revealed in our experiences of love, beauty, truth, Sacraments, words in the Sacred Scriptures, in creation and in encounters with one another.

God is mystery that we never solve.  We can always go deeper.  There is always more to be revealed.  In fact, in our Catholic teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, “Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.”

This season of Advent is a time of hoping and waiting and longing for God.  In Advent we listen to the Prophet Isaiah offering beautiful and poetic images that reveal a God who deeply longs for us.  Isaiah describes a voice crying out in the wilderness, “the glory of God shall be revealed.”

God is constantly reaching out into the universe, into our world to be revealed to our hearts.  Ultimately in Jesus, the mystery of God entered our human history and reality.  To walk with us in a way we could see and hear.

In today’s Gospel we saw the people going out to John the Baptist, they were longing, hoping for the action of God.  They were preparing themselves to be touched by God by confessing their sins and being baptized in the river by John.

During this Advent season, do not worry about whether you have faith or not.  Choose faith.  Prepare your hearts to be ready to recognize God being revealed to you.  In Sacrament, in the Word of God, in experiences of love and beauty.  God is longing and yearning to be known by us.  During Advent, have a heart that longs and hopes and prays and hungers for God.

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