The Certitude of Faith

(October 6, 2019)

Bottom line: in this dark world one thing can guide us: faith, faith in Jesus.

Last Saturday we had a Day of Reflection for Men. As men we have our struggles and failings. At the same time we want to provide spiritual leadership in our families and in our parish. Like the apostles we ask, "Lord, increase our faith."

We recognize that faith has power. Jesus says, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

In our Day of Reflection we explored the power of faith. We saw that power, for example, in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and St. John Paul. Faith can change the world and our own lives.

The question is: How can we strengthen faith? For sure, we can learn to answer objections such as: "Science disproves God's existence". (It does no such thing.) Or "If God exists, why is there so much suffering?" (Open the Book of Job, meditate on the cross.) A person can grow in faith by reading authors like C.S. Lewis or watching the videos of Bishop Robert Barron.

Today we have a man who can help us: John Henry Newman. Next Sunday Pope Francis will canonize him. St. John Henry Newman shows the lukewarm how they can come to the certitude of faith. Newman begins with something simple - his certainty that England (Britain) is an island. How does he know this? Not by some rational demonstration but by a thousand things coming together: maps, history, testimonies, explorations and so on.

Just so, I am certain God exists for many reasons: the birth of baby, the beauty of a lonely beach, the way the Bible speaks to my heart, prayers answered, the peace of doing God's will and the misery of going on the wrong path, the joy of forgiveness. These and a hundred other reasons give me certainty God exists - even though I cannot reduce him to a concept or definition.

Better than my reasons, read Newman or listen to Bishop Barron's talk. Or reflect on your own reasons.

The certitude of faith does not mean fanaticism or imposition. It does not mean we will have no darkness. Newman himself experienced rejection, accusations and twisting of his words. He wrote a powerful prayer I want to share with you this weekend:

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone
Lead Thou me on!

Brothers and sisters, in this dark world one thing can guide us: faith, faith in Jesus. So we say, "Lord increase our faith." And Jesus responds, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." Amen.


Joseph Man of Quiet Courage (Audio homily for 27th Sunday, Year C 2016)

Geography of Faith: Part 4 (Audio homily for 27th Sunday, Year C 2013)

Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Twenty-Sixth Sunday, Year C):

2016: Boots Laced Week 3: A Just Man
2013: Geography of Faith: The Return from Exile
2010: Questions That Lead to Faith
2004: The Greatest Power
2001: Increase Our Faith
1998: Lord, Increase our Faith

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru


For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.

As we wait, as we trust in God, how should we live. Here's what Habakkuk says: The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.