We begin a new three-week message series today called Faith Answering Questions. Back by popular demand from last summer, we’ll answer your questions about the Catholic faith during the Sunday message and in the bulletin articles each week.
Taking time to ask questions about our faith is important because we can’t really love God until we know him. In any relationship when one person doesn’t know the other, the people involved drift apart. We see it in many types of relationships, but the saddest of all is when we drift apart from God or really never knew him in the first place.
For some Catholics, religion was merely an academic subject in school. They may know theological facts or the names of the parts of the Mass or famous saints, but may not really know God’s heart and what he’s about. Some Catholics might not know God because the entire content of their Sunday school curriculum was no more specific than “God is love.”
For other Catholics, the faith was presented as a compilation of rules and laws to follow and knowing God in a personal and intimate way was not emphasized. Still other Catholics are unfamiliar with God because every time they went to Church it was so boring, they just assumed God was boring and not worth the time to get to know.
There can be many reasons we don’t know God, but this is not what God desires. The God of the Bible expresses a great desire for intimacy and that we come to know him well. We’ll never understand our Creator completely, but he wants us to know him in a personal and intimate way.
Certainly, we can come to a deeper knowledge of God through private prayer, Sunday Mass attendance, and participation in a faith community. But asking thoughtful questions about our faith also is an effective way to grow in our relationship with the divine.
In the very early days of the Church, there was no little conflict over theological matters. In fact, the first controversy erupted less than twenty years after Jesus’ death. It started to divide the Church when self-appointed preachers, “without any mandate” from the apostles, “upset” many believers with their false teachings (Acts 15:24). In response, the apostles convened and discerned true teaching to restore “peace of mind” among Christians. In the gospel reading, Jesus said, “Whoever loves me will keep my word,” and he promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us everything (John 15:23, 26).
When we are willing to ask the tough questions and listen to the answers provided by the Holy Spirit through the teaching of the Church, we’ll be able to keep God’s word more fully and come to love him more deeply. Listen to our message live this Sunday or online to hear the answers to your questions on faith.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Father Roger Gustafson