When we use the word “Passion” with a capital “P” in the Church we are generally speaking of Jesus’ Passion that we just celebrated during Holy Week. Out of his passion for us, Jesus freely gives his life for us on the Cross so that we can be redeemed. We must never forget this.
How much Passion do we have for faith?
In today’s first reading, we see the passion that Peter has as an Apostle. Peter is arrested along with others for preaching faith in Jesus Christ. The people who arrest him are some of the same people involved in the arrest of Jesus. So, Peter would have valid reason to fear. Will they crucify him like they crucified Jesus?
Peter is not deterred. When questioned about his faith, Peter does not waver. He stands up for what he believes in and is so bold as to speak out against the people who arrested him as rejecting the faith.
How is Peter so bold? First, the reading tells us that Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is courage. Peter certainly needed to rely on that gift but also on the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to know what to say. Peter was also strengthened in his faith having known Jesus before his Crucifixion and having seen the Risen Jesus (see today’s gospel).
With all this in mind, one might think it was easy for Peter to be strong in faith. We must remember that Peter’s faith wasn’t always perfect. After the Transfiguration, Peter rebuked Jesus for Jesus’ prediction of his own Passion. Peter is the one who denies Jesus’ three times. In today’s Gospel, even though Peter has seen the Risen Jesus twice already, he doesn’t immediately recognize Jesus. If you read the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how God had to keep leading Peter in faith.
Like Peter, our faith might not be perfect but do we have a passion for our faith?
Our passion for our faith can be expressed in different ways. I know of some people who have a very deep faith expressed only in personal prayer. Others might not see it but it is there. These people do not always express their faith outwardly, not out of fear, but simply it is not their personality to do so.
For others, their zeal for the faith is obvious. Peter and Paul are great biblical example of this.
We might think as long as we have faith, it doesn’t matter if we express it outwardly. Individually, it might not matter but we are not concerned just with individuals. If we let our faith be seen, we can be witnesses to Christ. When we let our faith be seen, we become a light for the world to Christ. We can lead others to Jesus.
Just like everyone else, my faith is not perfect. After knowing Jesus’ love for us on the Cross, one of the things that helps me to keep the faith is to see others who are passionate about the faith. I can wonder if people really care. When I see others who are interested in faith, it gives me hope. That’s why I love questions about our faith. I believe that if people are asking questions, then their faith is important to them and that makes my ministry worthwhile.
Who has shown you their passion for our faith? Whom have you shared your passion with?