Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Formalism is always a danger in religion. A trusting in forms that can become empty unless it is made alive by personal engagement: for then it is not the form one is trusting but the person who is speaking through the form. And that engagement is called faith.
It is a gift, faith, that is. It is not something we can manufacture, because it is a living participation in the life of God Himself. We know something of it in human love, for in order for there to be human love, there has to be faith in the other. Without that living faith, relations can dry up, shrivel, even die: cold routine, formal accommodations, all these if left to themselves can spell the end of love. Faith is a way of knowing, deeper and richer than any mere knowledge, than any mere form.
The form comes alive when the electricity of faith is connected. And it was this that Jesus experienced, when the faith of the sick old woman touched Him, and He felt power go forth from Him. And it was this that He insisted the family of the dead girl have. Faith. It is the power that overcomes the world and all its empty promises and false claims: it reaches down from God Himself and, if we allow ourselves to be captured by it, it will lead us back into the source of all Life, to Jesus and His life-giving power.