Opening the door of faith” by Sr Sarah O’Rourke FMA, Salesian Community, Limerick, Ireland

Opening the door of faith”                                   Reflection for 5th Sunday of Easter

As our world continues to face the upheavals of war, migration and economic crises our feelings can be troubled and our faith challenged. Therefore it is encouraging to read that Paul and Barnabas      “ put fresh heart into the disciples”. How did they do this? It involved two things “reporting what God has done” and “opening the door of faith.” Everything depends on God, that is the essential meaning of creation but how often we fall into the trap of thinking that it is we who achieve results.

We might smile when we hear Woody Allen’s quote “ If you want to make God laugh tell him about your plans.” Yet, how often are we disappointed or overwhelmed when things don’t seem to fit into our agendas or way of doing things. We need to be ever mindful “that we are workers, not master builders, ministers not messiahs” and trust that God the master builder has greater plans than we could ever imagine or organise.

St. Mary Mazzarello co foundress of the Salesian Sisters understood this well when she wrote to a Sister “If you are humble, you will have confidence in Him: He will do the rest”.   It is important for us to remember that faith in the Lord, while personal is not a private affair.  Faith formation for the early Christians had its communal dimension – together they learned and found faith in the Lord.

Pope Benedict reminds us that the “door of faith is always open for us ushering us into a lifeof communion.”  The King of Sunday is also the King of Friday whose limbs were stretched on the Cross. Faith that forgets or ignores the wounds that the cross brings is shallow and will not sustain. The love of Christ embraces suffering while looking forward with hope to the Resurrection. Faith is not founded on ideas, but on an encounter with Christ. His parting instruction to his followers is about “ a new commandment of love” which  exhorts  us to“love one another just as I have loved you.” It is important that we do not gloss over the second part of this instruction “just as I have loved you”. Before uttering these words Jesus has given us example, as he has just washed his disciples’ feet. He is the one who came among us as one who serves. Jesus the Servant has room for all. His service was not from a distance but hands on. Loving like Jesus opens the door to faith.

May our faith and actions this week give “fresh hearts” to those who might need a lift.

Sr Sarah O’Rourke FMA