CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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A year for conversion 
and sanctification

The feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King brings an end to the liturgical year of the Church as we move towards celebrating the birth of God as man on Christmas Day.

In the gospel reading of today’s liturgy, Jesus answers a question raised by Pilate, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”

Then he says, “… for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” But Pilate then queried, “What is truth?” (John 18:36-38).

However, Jesus is referring to matters transcendent rather than earthly realities, things that can only be understood and accepted through faith.

When he healed a blind man at Jericho, Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” In the gospel miracle accounts, Jesus consistently praises the people he has healed with the words, “Your faith has saved you.”

This is his way of saying that faith is essential to salvation.

Pope Benedict XVI declared the Year of Faith for this very reason.

Faith is not a theory, but a virtue which demands action. This can be a tough task, for while we may say we believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, we often do nothing in our everyday lives that reflects this belief.

St. James wrote in extremely concrete ways about faith. He says directly, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), which places the accent of the Year of Faith on how it is lived, not on how it is perceived.

Faith is a transcendent value, which puts it beyond our individual reach. It can be developed only in relationship with God. The father, whose son was possessed by a mute spirit, is a good example of this.

What the father hoped for was the recovery of his son. So he placed his hope in Jesus for a cure, while at the same time being doubtful about the result.

Jesus, who always told us to have faith, saw he was disturbed and counselled the man saying, “Everything is possible to one who has faith” (Mark 9:23).

Where there is faith, everything is possible. “Then the boy’s father cried out, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:24).

The Year of Faith reminds us we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are called to pass on this faith of salvation. It is a challenge to us to be conscious of introducing people to the faith.

However, this requires a deep understanding of the Church’s faith and this year is a challenge to learn as much as we can.

Pope Benedict says in his apostolic letter, The Door of Faith (Porta Fidei), “It is in this sense that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church” (No. 11).

The diocese of Hong Kong has organised a series of activities and opportunities during the Year of Faith to help us to live our faith journeys in this earthly world and contribute to the faith of the people around us. SE