The many fruits of walking by faith Print E-mail
Sunday scripture column

Jem Sullivan

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ez 17:22-24
Psalm 92:2-3, 13-16
2 Cor 5:6-10
Mk 4:26-34

Faith works wonders. To walk by faith, and not by sight, is one of the greatest challenges and joys of the spiritual life. This is the invitation to all in this Sunday's Scripture readings.

The saints show us how to grow in faith in the daily circumstances of life. Holy men and women, known and hidden, have over the centuries witnessed to the power of walking by faith. Take the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, whose feast day the Church celebrates this coming week.

Born into an aristocratic Italian family, the young Aloysius was set to inherit his family's wealth and pursue a life of fame and public honor.

He was sent to Florence and later to Mantua for his education and began reading the Lives of the Saints while recovering from an illness. It was then that he heard the Lord's call to give his life in self-giving love.

He was drawn to the Jesuit order, but his family did all they could to prevent him from answering the call to the priesthood. His family forbade his entry to the priesthood with the threat that he would have to renounce his inheritance and social status.

He continued on, walking by faith, as he gave up all rights of inheritance to enter the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Rome.

Soon after, he dedicated himself to teaching the faith to youth and to caring for those suffering from the plague and other contagious diseases. He died with the name of Jesus on his lips, radiating the peace and love of God.

In the Gospels, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. This smallest of seeds grows into the largest of plants. As we ponder the word of God today, we are invited to walk by faith, and not by sight.

This journey begins in the grace of God, who plants the seed and gives growth to the gift of faith in our lives.

Jem Sullivan is secretary for Catholic education of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.