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What is faith? A reflection for World Mission Sunday

Julian Paparella

October 20, 2019
The Sower by Vincent Van Gogh
What is Faith? (Click here to listen!)
Sunday, October 20, 2019 - World Mission Sunday
This Sunday is World Mission Sunday. And this year Pope Francis has made the whole month of October an Extraordinary Missionary Month. To celebrate, I’d like to share with you some thoughts about the Gospel reading for this Sunday.
Jesus poses a provocative question to his disciples: “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
This question cuts right to the heart. Jesus is asking: when I come back at the end of time, will I find any faith in the world? The question we have to ask ourselves is what kind of faith is Jesus talking about? Is Jesus simply talking about adhering to a long list of rules? Is he hoping that when he comes back he will find us all being super pious and rigidly religious? I don’t think so. Instead Jesus wants to know if he will find us living in relationship with God. That’s ultimately what faith is all about: living life in relationship with God. God wants a relationship of love with us. He already has a relationship with us and loves us beyond our wildest imagining. He wants us to enter into this relationship of love with him, and allow it to transform our relationships with everyone — our family, our friends, our coworkers, the sick, the poor, and everyone we meet.
Our challenge is to find ways that we can grow in our relationship with God and let that relationship spread into all of our other relationships in life. How can we do this? Certainly through prayer: talking to God, speaking to him as a friend, as a father who loves us, giving thanks at the end of the day, taking time to go on a walk through nature, maybe even going to church or reading the Bible. Faith starts in prayer but it doesn’t end there: it sends us out to love in return for God’s love for us. Faith leads us to help out a friend who's in need, to show our love for our family, to take time to help the poor in our community, to talk to a homeless person, to volunteer in the hospital. The question for us is: what concrete steps can we take this week to grow in our relationship of love with God and let it spread throughout our whole life? Then Jesus will surely find faith on the earth when he returns.

Julian Paparella has contributed to Salt + Light Media since 2012. He served as an intern for many summers and currently studies theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris.