To walk by faith, and not by sight

To walk by faith, and not by sight
The Sunday Gospel
Ez 17:22-24
Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
2 Cor 5:6-10
Mk 4:26-34

To walk by faith, and not by sight, is one of the challenges and joys of the spiritual journey. This is the invitation extended to all in God’s word this Sunday. As the Church returns to ordinary time, God’s word invites us to encounter the extraordinary graces of God in word and in sacrament.


The Church offers us countless examples of holy men and women, known and hidden, who show us that it is possible to walk by faith in God. Take the life of St Aloysius Gonzaga, whose feast day the Church celebrates this coming week.

He gave up his inheritance to answer God’s call as a novice in the Society of Jesus in Rome”

Born into an aristocratic Italian family, the young Aloysius was set to live a comfortable life in inheriting his family’s wealth and pursued a life of pleasure and honour. God had a different plan for his life. For when he went to Florence to study, he began reading the lives of the Saints while recovering from an illness. Then he heard the Lord’s call to offer a self-gift of his life as a missionary. Even as he was drawn to the Jesuit order his family did all they could to prevent him from answering the call to the priesthood, even threatening the loss of his inheritance. The saintly Aloysius continued on, walking by faith, as he gave up his inheritance to answer God’s call as a novice in the Society of Jesus in Rome.


Soon after, he dedicated himself to teaching youth and to caring for those suffering from the plague and other contagious diseases. The witness of his holiness was a seed of faith that spread among the people, growing like branches of a vibrant tree. He is said to have died with the name of Jesus on his lips, radiating the peace and love of God.

God’s mighty hand will accomplish all these marvellous works”

In the Gospels, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed. This smallest of seeds, when sown in the ground, grows into the largest of plants, putting forth branches that give shelter and shade from the heat of the day. This Gospel imagery continues the teaching of the prophet Ezekiel in the first reading when God promises to plant a cedar on the mountain heights. This cedar plant will, by God’s care, become a large cedar in which birds of every kind dwell and find shade in its branches. God promises to bring low the high tree, and lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom. God’s mighty hand will accomplish all these marvellous works.


As we ponder the word of God today, we hear the call to walk by faith and not by sight. Our journey of faith begins in the grace of God, who plants the seed and nourishes and sustains the gift of faith in our lives. The daily challenge is learning to let go of self-dependence and to grow in childlike trust in Jesus as we pray in faith, “speak to me, Lord.”

Question: What does it mean to walk by faith in friendship with Jesus?

Jem Sullivan holds a doctorate in religious education and is an associate professor of catechetics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington.