Prioritizing Faith

“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

I was jobless for close to three years after I graduated from college in Nigeria. I was desperately searching for a job and praying earnestly that I get one. I remember praying so many Rosaries and novenas, offering many Masses, keeping many night vigils, fasting a lot, etc. But I never received a single serious job interview.

Though I did not get the job that I so earnestly desired, my faith in God grew and matured immensely in that period of my life. I was beginning to sense the love of the Lord Jesus for me, and I wanted to love Him back in truth and in deed by serving Him in His holy catholic Church. I believe that the seeds of my priestly and religious vocation germinated in that period of my life.

I learned from this experience that Jesus, though always able and willing to work miracles in our lives, always has our faith as His priority. Whether He grants us what we ask for or not, He will surely see to it that our faith in Him grows and we spread that faith to others.

This is the lesson that Jarius and the hemorrhaging woman in Mk 5:21-43 learned from their encounter with Jesus. The woman came to Jesus with healing as her primary focus, “If I but touch His clothes, I shall be cured.” She had an expectant faith. But she was not looking for a conversation with Jesus or even to give witness to Him before others. She just wanted to be healed.

Jesus asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” not because He did not know who had touched Him. He knew who had benefited from the power that had gone from Him. He asked this question because He wanted to give the woman something much greater and enduring than the physical healing that she had experienced by touching His clothes. He wanted to expand her faith into a saving faith—the only kind that leads to peace on earth and the fullness of life in heaven. After the woman responded by giving witness to Jesus before all the people, Jesus offered her this life-giving faith: “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

Likewise, Jarius had come to Jesus, focused on the healing of his deadly sick daughter. Jesus challenged him to persevere in his faith and make faith his own priority too, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Jesus invites Jarius to believe, even in the face of death, that He can raise the dead. When Jarius allowed Jesus to expand his faith, Jesus raised his daughter from the dead.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus Christ has our faith in Him as His priority, but do we have our faith in Him as our priority too? Is our faith in Jesus the thing that we strive to grow in and to reflect to others? Is our faith in Him the one thing that we do not take for granted? Jesus Christ will take care of everything if we too have faith in Him as our own priority. 

We have so many priorities in our lives today. It is very important that as we bring these things to Jesus, we also allow Him to mature and deepen our faith in Him. If our priority in life is to feel good always, and we do not also mature in our faith, we will easily give in to sin. If our priority is an easy and comfortable life, and we are not maturing in faith, we will become lazy and selfish. If our priority is to be healthy always, and we are not also growing in faith, we will be overcome by the fear of falling sick. If our priority is to be wealthy, and our faith is weak, we will become greedy and dishonest. If our priority is pleasure and satisfaction, and we fail to grow in faith, we will become addicted to pleasurable things, especially food, drink, and sex. If our priority is to be accepted and revered by others, and we lack deep faith, we will become frauds and hypocrites whose words are not backed by actions.

Jesus’ priority till the end of time is for us to have a lively faith in our hearts always. Without this lively faith, we cannot have the fullness of the benefits that He merited for us by His death and resurrection. In short, we render the cross useless for us. This is why Jesus asked us this question about His glorious return: “When the Son of Man comes again, will He find faith in man’s heart?” (Lk 18:8). He is not looking to find all the problems of this life solved on His return. He is not looking to find us perfectly healthy and strong, successful, loved, and accepted by others. And He is definitely not looking to find a perfect climate condition on this earth! He is simply looking to find faith alive and thriving in us no matter what we are facing.

It is time for us to make our faith in Jesus our priority. Let us begin by giving primacy to the word of God. It is by hearing the word of God, reflecting on it in our hearts like the Blessed Virgin Mary, and acting on it, that we can have faith in Jesus alive in us. “Faith comes from hearing and what is heard is the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17). We cannot hear Jesus say to us, “Your faith has saved you,” if we do not spend serious time with His word.

Let us also be serious in our ongoing conversion. Two things that cannot coexist are lively faith and unrepented sin. Faith cannot be our priority when we justify or celebrate our sins as we see done in the many Gay Pride parades. Let us show seriousness in ongoing conversion by humbling ourselves and confessing our sins in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus does not just take away our sins in this sacrament, but He also infuses in us the lively faith that is present in His Church.

We show that faith is our priority too when we persevere in prayer, even if our situations get worse or we do not get what we are asking for. Because His priority is faith, Jesus may not grant us what we ask for, but He will surely strengthen our faith in Him as we persevere in prayer. We can overcome anything with this strong faith, “The thing that conquers the world is our faith” (1 Jn 5:4).

We prioritize our faith in Jesus when we remain close to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She once came to Him focused on the lack of wine in the wedding of Cana, “They have no wine.” Jesus’ reply moved her to give priority to faith in Jesus and to help others to do the same as she said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus ended up providing the best wine that day.

Mary also stood at the foot of the cross as she lost everything, including the one that she loved most dearly—Jesus Christ. She stood faithfully with Him because faith in Jesus was (and is) the most precious thing for her. She prayed for Him as fervently as she surrendered Him back to God for our salvation. That is why Jesus gave her to us as our mother then: “Behold, your mother.” We have in Mary a beloved and faithful mother to help us prioritize our faith in Jesus Christ, even in the darkest moments.

Lastly, let us prioritize our faith by attending the holy sacrifice of the Mass with the same expectant faith as the hemorrhaging woman. We must not attend Mass purely out of routine or obligation. Rather, let us attend Mass expecting Jesus to touch us and heal us of our physical, emotional, and spiritual sickness. Let us also expect Him to stretch and deepen our faith. We come with a little faith, and in Holy Communion He offers us Himself and a deeper faith to do what He did: “Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do and do greater ones” (Jn 14:12).

Let us confidently bring all our needs and priorities to Jesus. By the grace of God, we can transcend our situations and bear spiritual fruit for the kingdom of God. We only have to allow Him to make our faith in Him our priority too.  

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

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Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at

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