Strength of Faith.
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.â€
Over the months of Ordinary Time, a time dedicated to growth, we focus on how we live out the Christian faith, how we walk in Strength of Faith. We are focusing on our growth in Strength of Faith.
Today, in our exploration of Strength of Faith we encounter a problem that seems to have been a long-lasting one. In fact, it stretched from the time of Moses (and likely well before) to the time of Jesus and on to today. It is the problem, some would say of jealousy, but more in-fact it is about maturity of faith.
In both cases, the Spirit of God moves among His people. In Mosesâ€™ time it was the chosen seventy elders. In Jesusâ€™ time, it was those who were moved to do mighty things in Jesusâ€™ name.
In Jesusâ€™ time, the people who set out to do work in His Name â€œfeltâ€ Him in their hearts, perhaps after hearing Him, or maybe just hearing of Him. They were motivated to do what many who encountered Jesus could not do, i.e., set aside their lives, careers, fortunes and go out to work for God. That took maturity and strength of faith.
See the juxtaposition of people who carried out the Spiritâ€™s work in strength and maturity of faith â€“ fearless and those who were not so sure. In both cases, the strength and maturity of those called to act kept the Holy Spiritâ€™s good work moving.
Well, here we are, 2021. The Spirit of God is among and within us. This perspective on strength and maturity of faith cannot be more apropos to our upcoming centennial celebration and our honoring the work of the Polish National Union today. In both these cases, the Holy Spirit inspired people to work in Jesus Holy Name and accomplish amazing things. They in turn set aside all else to do what the Spirit called them to do. They acted with strength and maturity of faith, not jealously, nor apprehension, sure of their footsteps for they knew Jesus was walking with them.
Were there people like John going to Jesus or the young man who ran to Moses saying, hey look what they are doing, letâ€™s stop them? Certainly! Yet here is where strength and maturity combine to get Godâ€™s work done. A person who refuses to grow in strength of faith will not step forward. A person without maturity of faith will constantly question the Holy Spiritâ€™s direction, and if challenged they will stop.
In the end, and this is the struggle, we are called to trust. We are never called to build roadblocks or speed bumps; we must not stop. We are called to say yes to the inspiration in us, to act maturely and to remain strong doing the Spritâ€™s work.