BLOG # 280 The Year of fAITH (2012 - 2013) , 2
Pope Benedict's proclamation of a Year of Faith beginning Oct 10. 2012 and ending November 1, 2013 gave me special joy. As I see it, the agenda for the Year focuses for the entire Catholic Church at this particular moment of history the condition of our seven billion fellow human creatures and our responsibility and relationship toward ourselves and them in the light of our Baptismal commitment to God as beleiving Catholic Christians. It should be a time for examining renewing and strengthening our awareness , understanding, and proclamation of our personal individual and worldwide community response in faith to the message that Jesus brought from Heaven of holiness leading to justice love peace joy and eternal life for all people.
My hope is we will be inspired and directed by the attitude and strategy Pope John Paul II called for under the title given it by him as the ' new evangelization' of the world. We will recognize more clearly and explicitly the holiness and presence of God in all of creation and become more aware of the sincerity of others who claim and experience a faith and relationship with God different from our own. Rather than seeing and emphasizing religious experiences that are different from our own as evil or wrong, we will see the good that is present in them and recognize it as good, genuine faith, and God-given, but for the time being as incomplete.
All of this reminds me of a story I presume is imaginary but can be effective in illustrating what I see as our real and serious responsibility as baptized Christians toward our Catholic faith, and the command of Jesus to share that faith thrughout the world.
The story is of a famous tight-rope walker. He set up a tight rope across the Niagra Falls and proclaimed he could push a wheel-barrow across the Falls with any man or woman who would volunteer for it sitting in the wheel-barrow. He announced the date and time for his performance and a huge crowd gathered on both sides of the River to watch. He asked for a volunteer from the crowd. A man climbed the ladder going up to the starting point to stand along-side of the performer who shook the man's hand and said "Thank you, get in". The man believed, trusted, and acted upon his faith. He crossed the river safely,
In real life Jesus is the 'Performer'. The same Jesus who called James and John away from their fishing business and who changed the name and identity of Simon Bar-Jona to Peter the Rock , the same Jesus who claimed to be the promised Messiah of Genesis , God the Creator's Beloved Son, one with the Father yet now born among us as one of us and like us in all but sin, is the same Jesus who calls us to Himself in our particular moment of history, not just someone who is honest and tells the truth but The Truth, not just someone who can talk about where we are going with our lives and knowledgeable about how to get there, but The Way, not just guesssing or hoping there is life beyond the grave but BEing The Life each of us is called to desire seek and eventually share , the same Jesus who invites us to receive in Baptism a new identity and a new relatonship in Him with the Creator of all that exists, and promises for us the value and experience for which all of us hunger and thirst whether we realize it or not, the gift of eternal happiness, through, with, and in Him.
The only way any and all of this can be ours, real, understood ,and accomplished by us is by faith. With living active faith we can be more assured of its reality and more confident in the fulfillment of the promises upon which it rests than we can be assured and confident the sun will rise tomorrow mornng in the east. This is true becuse God never promised the sun would rise tomorrow but He did set his seal on Jesus and promised eternal life in Him.
We will contiue with further insights into the meaning and experience of faith in hope that such a review will help us appreciate more fully and derive more benefit from our experience of our current year as The Year of Faith.