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Your Free Faith Response

For John came to you in the way of righteousness ... and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him
Matthew 21:28-32

Sermon Topic Faith

Sermon Week Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 21:32

Keywords

A young woman named Mary who lived in the village of Nazareth was confronted by an angel of the Lord. The angel told her that she was to become the mother of the long-expected Messiah. Mary was "deeply troubled" by the angel's words, Luke tells us, and her first word in response was a word of doubt: "How can this be since I do not know man?" she asked. The angel told her more about the situation and reaffirmed that God was calling her to be the mother of the Messiah. Mary replied, "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk. 1:38).

In these beautiful words spoken by Mary we can see how an honest, creative doubt can actually strengthen our faith. In our own experience -- as we read, as we study and as we discuss -- we discover that honest searching and probing and questioning can help us grow in our faith and enrich our faith response. Dostoevski once was asked about the vitality of his religious faith. His answer was, "My Hosanna comes forth from the crucible of doubt."

God never forces Himself upon us, never compels us to say "Yes", never violates the integrity of our being. He waits for our free response. The Biblical writers have emphasized in the strongest terms the absolute necessity of a free faith response, if we are to have wholeness of life. And nowhere in the New Testament do we find a more beautiful model of the faith response than that which has been given to us by Mary: "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say."

Your faith is the most important single thing we can be talking about here because it is the most important thing in your life. Nothing in life should be allowed to distract you from the need to respond to God in faith. Look deep within yourself. Where are you in your pilgrimage? Where are you in terms of your own faith response?

There is a wonderful [...]

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