Archbishop John Dew preached the following homily along the route of the Faith on Foot pilgrimage (17-24 November), marking the end of the Year of Faith.
‘…they gave an account of all that God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans.’ (Acts 14:27)
That was a very short reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Paul – one of the greatest missionaries – and Barnabas came back from one of their journeys and told the others what God had done – not what they had done, but what God had done – and of how God opened the door of faith to the unbelievers.
We might think of this Year of Faith and ask ourselves what we have done. How has our faith grown? In what ways has our life been changed? Has our faith become stronger?
If we asked ourselves those sorts of questions it would be all about us, we would be putting ourselves at the centre and be very inward looking.
The better thing to do might be to look at the Year of Faith and reflect on what God has done for us.
Think of what God has done for you personally,
Reflect on what God has done for the Archdiocese, for this Pastoral Area and for the parishes of this region.
God has touched our hearts…
God has loved us…
God has spoken to us….
God has given us this beautiful country to live in …
God has breathed life into us…
God has given us family and friends…
We can all think of something very special we know God has done and continues to do for us.
God has brought us together today, and we have come together because we are people who believe. We belong to the Catholic Church …..baptised into a family, and like any family sometimes it is wonderful and full of blessing and sometimes we wonder why we are part of it. But we are …..and at this end of the Year of Faith we give thanks together
In October last year I was in Rome the day Pope Benedict opened the Year of Faith. He said:
If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelisation, it is not to honour an anniversary (50 years since the start of the Second Vatican Council), but because there is more need of it. … In the council’s time it was already possible to form a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us.
If you and I can look at our lives and see ‘what God has done for us’ and give God the credit we will once again open the door of faith to others, or God will do that through us.
I see many wonderful things happening in our schools and parishes as I travel around the diocese. I see many wonderful people doing amazing, loving, helpful kindnesses in the name of Jesus….thank you for the ways you are open to God and let God do great things through you. You too, could give an account, or write a story about “all that God had done with you”.
Archbishop John addresses the impact of the Faith on Foot pilgrimage, and the closing of the Year of Faith, in his December colum.