The real reason for the gift of faith is “to be with Him,” to experience that we are not alone.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons.” The three verses preceding the list of the Twelve Apostles condense the calling of every Christian.
First, faith is a gift from God – it is not ours to claim. Saying it is a gift means coming to terms with the fact that faith does not depend on our efforts (or on some spiritual technique) but that is a gratuitous gesture from God, who mysteriously reveals himself in our hearts. It is a profound experience of a love on which our lives can be thus grounded. This does not mean that whoever has received this gift no longer faces doubt, crises, uncertainties. Evil works constantly to keep us from this loving experience and convinces us time after time that we do not deserve it – or, even worse, that we can do without it.
Second, the gift of faith is not instrumental in some heavenly business plan in which we become pawns, as if forced to carry it through. The real reason for the gift of faith is “to be with Him,” to experience that we are not alone. The Lord doesn’t ask us for anything exceptional, but to stop living on our own, because loneliness is true hell.
Third, proclaiming the message. Basically, this means that we share what we cannot restrain in our hearts. In fact, we should evangelize out of abundance – not out of simple duty.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.