What is the beginning of faith? In a sense, faith begins when we come to the realization that there is something about our existence that draws us out of ourselves. We don’t at first understand that it is the the gentle prodding of God that is tugging at our heart. Yet we somehow do know that there is something outside of us that calls us and offers love and meaning. In it’s earliest stages it seems to us that we hear the whisper of an unknown God. In today’s first reading Saint Paul addresses the Athenians worship of this Unknown God, knowing that they need only to have the real God explained and preached to them.
When Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God is real. We are the privileged ones who know him and love him. Others in our lives only know that their lives lack meaning and purpose. We have opportunities to share the gospel to those who need his love every single day. Will we share our joy with them, or will we be afraid that we will be rejected? Isn’t rejection a small price to pay for planting a seed that may well grow into real faith? No one should be limited to worshipping an Unknown God, especially when the reality of who the true God is can change a life.