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The Year of Faith Concludes

Nov. 19, 2013

November 17, 2013

(from the Homily by His Eminence, Cardinal Oswald Gracias)

The Year of Faith was a tremendous gift given to the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI, to mark the 50th anniversary of the commencement of Vatican Council II. The Year of Faith ends, formally, next Sunday on the feast of Christ the King.

Cardinal Gracias emphasised that Vatican II was nothing else but the whole church together, trying to reflect on how the gospel should be lived, understood and spread to others in the context of today’s world. His Eminence illustrated ‘faith’ using three incidents in Abraham’s life as examples:  The first was when he believed that God would bless him with a child despite his advanced years; the second when God asked him to relocate to a distant land and third, when God asked him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. In all these three instances, Abraham witnessed to his faith.

Abraham’s example helps us to focus on the three main aspects of the Year of Faith - to know our faith more deeply, to be able to live it more authentically and to proclaim it more confidently. This is the essence and purpose of the Year of Faith. When we talk of knowing the faith more deeply, we must know the apostles creed and what it means, the doctrines of faith, the sacraments, and what they imply.  The essence of our faith is not just intellectual concepts and knowledge, but is a personal encounter with Jesus, who came to give us the message that the Father has a unique relationship with us. The liturgy exists not merely to educate us but to enable us have a God experience.

The real way to live our faith is to live Jesus Christ and his values in our day to day life and to feel God’s presence in our hearts. His Eminence mentioned how Pope Francis through his daily homilies tells us how to live our lives more authentically. The Cardinal also spoke of a recent personal experience at one of the CBCI conferences where a question was asked as to why Catholic institutions and communities convert people by way of helping them. The Cardinal replied that such institutions  live God’s message, and love, charity, unity, compassion, service are a way of spreading God’s Gospel and love in the world.  

Jesus’ gift of faith has been given to us as a communitarian church - the home of our faith. The church is a place where we understand our faith and later express it through our actions. The process of living our faith never ends; the process of knowing Jesus never ends. It is a process we are called to.

While concluding, His Eminence called attention to the coming event of The National Convention of the SSCs to be held in Goa. He also announced the following liturgical year as The Year of the Eucharist.

 Cardinal Gracias thanked all the parishes of the Archdiocese for the activities that marked the Year of faith and invoked God’s blessings on all.

 Source: Catholic Communication Centre

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