1st Thursday in the Christmas Season
Memorial of Elizabeth Ann Seton
1 John 3:7 – 10; John 1:35 – 42
In chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews, the author gives a definition of faith: “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about what we do not see.” It is clear that faith is a strength of confidence and conviction.
In today’s Gospel St. John presents two other aspects of faith: faith is sight and stability. Seven times, sight is expressed in the course of the reading he speaks of John watching Jesus, of Jesus seeing the disciples and asking, “What are you looking for” and inviting them, “Come, and you will see” and the disciples themselves going with Him and seeing where He stayed.
In addition to the “seeing” there is the aspect of stability – “Rabbi, where are you staying”…”they saw where he was stayed and they stayed with him that day.” And that experience was never to be forgotten; they remembered even the time – “it was about four in the afternoon” – for them it marked the time of sight and stability in the Lord Jesus, sight and stability that transformed their lives forever.
Faith is never meant to be a quick prayer or merely some kind of wordy profession of dogma; never superficial, faith is meant to be a seeing into the mystery of God with the heart and a deepening growth into the very person of Christ to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, faith is a life-long journey of hearing Jesus’ invitation “Come and see!” and like the disciples staying, abiding, remaining with, in and through Him.
Like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, whose feast we celebrate today, we have heard Jesus invitation and by the Spirit’s power desire to see and stay as His own. The offertory prayer of this Mass states it perfectly: “O Lord, we ask that you look graciously upon our gifts placed on your altar in celebration of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and grant by the power at work in this sacrifice, that we may be more deeply inserted in the mystery of your Son. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.”