Faith and Trust: A Homily by Deacon Jim Hyatt

When I have been driving into work the past few weeks, I kept seeing a billboard along route 93 that advertised Divine Mercy Sunday! How cool is that? Did anyone else see that? It contained the picture of Jesus with rays coming from his heart and the message, “Jesus, I trust in you.”

Trust. So important to Jesus and so important to our faith. If all of us were asked today upon entering the Church if we trusted Jesus, I think we would all have said yes, of course we do! But when we hold up our level of trust to Divine Mercy Sunday standards, can we still answer yes? Do we trust at the level that he is asking us to trust?

You know, there is a song from a Christian band called Unspoken that I think epitomizes my level of trust in him when I hold it up to the Divine Mercy Sunday standards. The opening verse in the song is, “I lay it all down at your feet on the floor, and I pick it up when I walk out the door.” I give my worries, anguish, hurt and needs to him trusting he will take care of it, but when I get on with my life, I take them all right back. And worry all over again. Woefully short of Divine Mercy Sunday standards.

When I spent time with the readings for this weekend, I found myself thinking about faith and trust, and the point that kept coming back to me was how they work hand in hand, and how our doubt can weaken both.

So, how can we not relate to Thomas? I wish I could say that I am perfect and have never let my faith succumb to doubt. All of us have our faith tested and we start to ask, “Why did God allow this to happen?” or “Is all of this true?” 

It’s in how we respond to those doubts, weaknesses and second guessing that really matters. Our faith can get us through… if we let it, but that can sound hollow if we are in pain, anguish and doubt.

In the second reading, Peter gives us a reminder about staying steadfast in our faith. He says that God, in his great mercy, gave us Jesus Christ so that we would have salvation through him. Now here is the key point: he says that our salvation is, “safeguarded through faith.” So, we know that he wants us to have faith, but I had never thought of it as safeguarding our salvation, but it makes sense doesn’t it? It’s not just about coming to Mass and checking the box, we need to exercise our faith and grow our faith.

When our faith is challenged and we doubt, he will always give us the opportunity to make it right. I mean, he did it for Thomas. Thomas was not in the upper room with the disciples when Jesus first appeared, and he had serious doubts. But like Jesus giving Peter the opportunity to make amends for denying him three times, Jesus gives Thomas an opportunity the very next week to do the same. And does he ever. Thomas sees and doesn’t actually have to put his fingers in the nail holes, instead he believes and responds with, “My Lord and my God!” He doesn’t say my Rabbi, my teacher… he says my Lord and my God recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. Demonstrating faith that lacked before but is abundant now.

What can we do to build and strengthen our faith? You are doing a number of them today!

  • The Eucharist – When we receive communion at his altar, or worship him in Eucharistic Adoration, we receive his grace in our hearts and we are strengthened!
  • Reconciliation – This Sacrament clears our heads and clears the slate with our Lord which brings us his grace when we need it most.
  • Prayer – Strengthens our faith especially when we look back and see our prayers answered.

But the most important thing we can do to strengthen our faith is trust. Divine Mercy Sunday, that Sunday where we think about whether or not we really trust Jesus to his standards. It is that Sunday devoted to the ocean of mercy that Jesus has for all of humanity. There is a quote in the Divine Mercy booklet that speaks to this level of trust and how Jesus feels about it. “The graces of My mercy, Jesus told Sister Faustina, are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is – trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is my desire to give much, very much. The soul which will trust in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it. No soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness.” 

Trust and faith go hand in hand. When we start with trust and make it the foundation of our relationship with Jesus, faith blossoms and our salvation is safeguarded. 

If Thomas were here today and we asked him if he trusted completely, he would say, “My Lord and my God!”

Come and share in his divine mercy. 

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