We call this Sunday “Catechetical Sunday,” because most parishes are beginning programs of religious education this month. We’re asking God’s blessing on young people and teachers and all who are involved in these programs. Passing on our faith to the next generation is important.
Remember, though, children and young people aren’t the only ones who grow in faith. We all do and it’s a life long task. I can still recite answers to questions from the catechism years ago. “Who is God?” “Why did God make you?” But is that enough? Jesus told his disciples long ago, “You’re learners,” and he tells us that today. We’re life long learners.
Unfortunately, many of us forget that we grow in faith. The Catholic writer Frank Sheed once said the problem with adult Catholics is that they don’t keep engaged in the faith they learned as children. He used the example of our eyes. We have two eyes. Let’s say one of them is the eye of faith; the other is the eye of experience.
As children we may see the world with two eyes; but as adults we may see the world only with the eye of experience, losing the focus that faith gives. Then our world and our understanding of our world becomes imbalanced. Faith helps us to see rightly.
This Sunday let’s commit ourselves to growing in our faith, to knowing what it means, to questioning what it would have us do. We might begin by committing ourselves to take part in the school of our liturgy, to listening to the prayers we say, to hearing the readings that are read, to watching the things that are done. It doesn’t mean we have to take courses or read books– although courses and books can be good things. It means, above all, to be people who learn prayerfully with eyes of faith.
We have to keep asking those simple catechism questions and the questions we hear in the bible. Who is God? “Who is my neighbor?” We can’t reduce loving our neighbor to a few things like lying, or cheating or killing one another. I was looking recently at the US Bishops’ site on the internet–a wonderful resource site about our faith, by the way– and noticed the many “neighbor” questions there. Questions like income inequality, immigration, housing, restorative justice. They’re social questions, “neighbor” questions. They deal with how we live our faith in the complex world of today.
Living our faith today is a challenging, life-long task. We need to stay in school.