Today’s Gospel is all about faith—a tricky thing, when taken at face value.
Faith requires that we believe in something that is so intangible and that, in the face of the gritty, often heartbreaking reality of our world, can feel very distant.
That’s where Jesus meets those who threaten to stone him in today’s gospel. They confront Jesus with fear because the faith required of them is nearly unfathomable. But here, Jesus offers the antidote to the limits of faith on its own—good works.
Throughout these pandemic years, I’ve struggled with faith. There have been times when it feels like everything is crumbling around me—from the deeply personal and local to the broad and global. It is exceedingly difficult at times to feel faith when what is playing out in the world is so deeply broken and isolating.
However, last month I traveled to North Carolina with a group of John Carroll University students as part of an immersion through ISN’s Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance and was reminded of that antidote Jesus offers today—good works.
I stood in awe as I remembered that my faith happens in tandem with good works—in this instance, seeing the very tangible manifestation of the “circular economy,” an economic model that honors people and planet equally with profit. I witnessed a textile production facility that schedules shifts to accommodate childcare schedules. A warehouse full of discarded socks and the equipment that saves them from the landfill to create new, sustainable products. The very personal impact that an employee-owned factory can have on individual lives. The joy of stumbling through cross-language dinner conversation with those employees, most from Guatemala.
Interstate travel is not required to witness the good work that makes faith tangible. Regardless of where we are on any given day, may we be open, inviting a sense of awe, present to the good works in the world that can bring our hearts back to God.
- How can you cultivate a sense of awe in your day to day life?
- In what ways do you most need to practice the art of keeping your heart open to be more present to “good work that makes faith tangible?”
- Today, commit to noticing one tangible sign of “good works” in your day, big or small.
Kelly Swan has worked for the Ignatian Solidarity Network since 2016, first as communications director, and now as director of advancement. She grew up in West Virginia and is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University. Kelly has worked in parish social ministry, child and family advocacy, community education and organizing, and publishing. She lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area with her children.