Is Faith Blind?
4th Sunday of Lent
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: March 19, 2023
Should we as Catholics have a blind faith? Is our faith ultimately something blind that we simply accept? No! As Catholics we speak of faith and reason as flowing together. Our Catholic Faith is meant to be rational. We are called to use our reason. St. Augustine spoke of Faith seeking Understanding. Therefore, true Catholic Faith is never in opposition to good science. You can be a good Catholic and a good scientist.
Speaking of blind faith leads to a poor understanding of faith. Faith is about light, faith is about seeing deeper and further. We just heard the story from John’s Gospel about Jesus healing the man born blind. The encounter with Jesus opened his eyes, brought light to his vision, helped this man to see in a way he had never seen since birth. This is what true faith does, it heals our blindness, it opens our eyes, it gives light to see in a deeper way. Faith is not blind, faith is light that heals our human blindness.
What does faith help us to see?
The first thing that faith helps us is to see, is ourselves more clearly and more honestly. We are often blind to our own failings, our own sins, our own compromises. We are good at rationalizing our bad behaviour, making excuses, justifying ourselves. A real encounter with Jesus can heal this blindness, help us to see ourselves more honestly.
Faith gives light to see more deeply to the areas where I need to repent, where I need to change, where I need to grow. When we go to the Sacrament of Confession, it is not about being full of guilt and shame. It is about allowing the light of faith, through our encounter with Jesus, to open our eyes to the way sin is affecting my life and hurting others. When we see ourselves with honesty then we can be set more truly free to live a fully human life in the light of God.
Secondly, faith helps us to see others in a deeper way. We no longer see just their failings, their mistakes, their shortcomings. We see deeper within them to their hurts, their needs and their longings. How do you see your family members, your neighbours, your fellow parishioners, your friends, your colleagues? How do you speak of them? Faith opens our eyes to see others with compassion and with understanding.
Thirdly, faith helps us to see further as we face the reality of our own mortality. We realize the shortness of this life, but we see beyond to the eternal life God plans for us. In the death and resurrection of Jesus we see the final destiny, the ultimate path we are on. It does not take away the uncertainty and mystery of death. But, faith opens our eyes to see that death is not the end.
So, I do not want you to have a blind faith. Faith is not blind, it is full of light. Meet Jesus and he will give you a faith that opens your eyes to see more clearly. You will see yourself more honestly. You will see others with greater understanding. You will see beyond the emptiness of death to the fullness of eternal life.
Have a faith that asks questions, have a faith that is seeking understanding. For faith and reason go together. True faith should open your eyes, should give light to your vision, to see yourself and others and even death in a deeper way.
No Strings Attached
27th Sunday Ordinary Time
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: October 2, 2022
A priest friend was speaking jokingly about another priest friend of mine and said, “with him there are always strings attached.” He was joking, but sometimes we can be that way with God. I go to Mass, I pray, I try to be a good person, but there are always strings attached. We do all this so therefore I deserve special treatment, things should all go well in my life. God owes me. Do we have a sense of entitlement when it comes to our faith?
Jesus says to his disciples that after they have done all that was asked of them they should simply respond, “We have only done what we ought to have done.” We do not live our Catholic Faith and then bribe God with it. A sense of entitlement is actually a sign of lacking faith.
True Faith expects nothing in return. True Faith sees that all is a gift. Our life is a pure undeserved gift. Our Faith itself is a pure gift and not something I earned. We do not expect anything and are full of gratitude for all that we do have. There is no sense of entitlement. I do not do what is right, what is true, what is God’s will, in order to get something in return.
Live our Faith not in a sense of entitlement, but in a spirit of gratitude. When we live our life and our faith rooted in gratitude, it changes everything. When our Faith is rooted in gratitude then it becomes a Faith that is truly able to change the world. For we are not sitting waiting to get what we deserve, we are simply joyful inside for the undeserved gifts that we have received.
In the letter to Timothy we hear the believers being told, “rekindle the gift of God that is within you.” and “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” Nurture your faith, deepen your faith. If it has weakened then rekindle that gift of God. Do not give in to cowardice, but live your faith with power, with love, with self-discipline.
One of the keys to nurturing your faith is a spirit of gratitude. Reflect on the gift of being alive, the gift of even a small faith, all the little gifts you have in your life. When you are rooted in gratitude then faith is deepened. Then your faith will not have strings attached, will not be about entitlement. It will be freely lived rooted in gratitude.
The Mass is called the Eucharist, which means Thanksgiving. Every time we come to the Eucharist we are giving thanks. Every day take time to reflect on your reason for thanksgiving and give thanks to God.
A spirit of thanksgiving will rekindle the gift of God within you, will take away any spirit of cowardice and lead you to a deeper faith.
We need to live our faith without any strings attached.