In Matthew’s gospel, Chapter 16, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Simone Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Cf. Matthew 16:15-16)
For Peter, this was the beginning of faith. However, it was not compete faith. It was Peter’s faith “with his head.” But this faith wasn’t strong enough to get him through Calvary. After Jesus was taken captive, Peter denied three times that he knew him.
After Jesus’s resurrection, after Peter was forgiven by Jesus, Peter’s faith had expanded to include his heart. When asked by Jesus three times if he loved him, three times Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” (Cf. John 21:15) Peter’s faith now included his head and his heart.
After Peter’s threefold profession of his love, Jesus tells Peter, “Feed my lambs” (John 21:17). And Peter certainly did. He went forth to preach the Kingdom of God for the rest of his life. Peter’s faith now included his will. He chose to serve his master, Jesus, and eventually died a martyr.
We express all three parts of our faith here at Mass. When we recite the Creed, we profess our faith with our minds. We assent to all the doctrines of the creed.
Then when we receive Holy Communion, we express our faith with our hearts. When the priest or Eucharistic Minister says, “The Body of Christ,” we say “Amen.” “Amen, yes, Lord, I love you with all my heart.” “Amen, yes, Lord, come into my life completely.”
Then, at the end of Mass, at the Dismissal, the priest or deacon says words like, “ Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” We respond, “Thanks be to God,” which is a way of saying, “Yes, you bet I will. “Yes, I choose to serve my God and his people.” We go out to love God’s people, and minister to their needs.
That’s it. That’s faith. It involves our whole being, our minds, our hearts and our wills. With the apostles today, we say to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Help our minds to grow in understanding and appreciation of you and all that you taught us. Help our hearts to love you more and more. And help our wills to always choose to serve you, 100%.
When we have done all that we have been commanded to do by Jesus, we can make ours the words of today’s gospel, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.”
But, oh, what a privilege, what an honor it is to be a servant of the Lord! Servants are considered the least. And the Lord has a special love for the least. Let us rejoice in that love and offer continual thanks.