Six months of Covid-19, no end in sight. When will the limits and restrictions be lifted? When can we again cross borders? When will we be able to gather freely with family, with friends? When will schools, work, community gatherings return in fullness? Will there be treatments, vaccines? When? So many unknowns, such uncertainties. Life has so many.
In a world filled with uncertainties, facing constant questions, we live with many challenges. Yet… it is from our questions and often, doubts that we come to discovery, to finding new ways and new understandings of our world, our lives and even our faith.
Several years ago, I met a student who had many questions – questions about faith, questions about the Church, questions about our traditions and practices. She thought that she could no longer be Catholic, because she had these questions. She felt she did not believe everything and so was not Catholic.
In fact, to have faith is to have questions, and we all have them, lots of them. To believe is to want to understand and this necessarily raises questions in us. Such faith discovery is not unlike any of our relationships. When we first meet someone, we begin to ask questions. If they are someone with whom we want a relationship, questions arise, maybe even doubts about them, about us, about our relationship. To question is part of human life and part of faith.
To live in the Catholic faith means we are on a life-long journey. As we identify our doubts and ask our questions we are led to changes in our lives and to action, living the faith that we are coming to understand. It is not possible to have faith in what God is revealing to us in Jesus, his life and his mission without accepting changes in the way we live. Our Faith starts with knowing, with grasping words and teachings. Then it grows into a “living faith”, that is a relationship, touching not only our head, but our heart. Like all relationships, it is alive. It grows over a lifetime.
When Jesus asks his disciples in Matthew’s Gospel “Who do you say that I am?” there was a variety of responses (Matt 16:13-20). Peter gave a remarkable one, but we can be sure that he did not fully understand what he said. Every expression of our faith is more a beginning than a conclusion. It leads us to more uncertainties and further questions. As well, like a couple in a marriage, the commitment of faith will take us to action and to places that we would not otherwise have gone. When it does, then we can say we have a “living faith”. In doing so, we discover the wonder of building a new world in which we live – the Reign of God takes on a reality for us and we other.
Whether it is the questions, fears and uncertainties of Covid-19, or the doubts and challenges we face in faith, they are often the route to discoveries and new ways of acting and living. The challenges, uncertainties and questions open the door to discovering new life.