MONDAY HOMILY: Being Awake to Faith
Jesus' miracles are catalysts to awaken faith in those who witness them. They are not performed for their own sake, but to draw people to belief in Christ.
What caught his attention was that the candles were not placed in reference the altar or the image above it, but had been arranged to the side of the alcove. His curiosity was piqued even further when he noticed small groups of people gathered around the shrine for prayer after Mass. They were not directing their attention to the image of the Virgin Mary, but to something on the recently cleaned stonework.
"Father, what do you think about all this?" someone asked as the priest walked by after Mass, on his way back to the sacristy.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Look at the stone, Father. There's a shape that looks like an image of Jesus. Is it real? Is Jesus really appearing there?"
The priest thought about it for a moment. Then he said, "What do I think? I think that the devil would be very pleased with us."
"What do you mean, Father?" The priest could hear the concern in the voice of his parishioner, who was a sincere a believing Christian.
"Well, thirty feet away from here is the tabernacle. Jesus Christ is truly present there in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. But here we are, looking at a splotch on the wall."
"Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe," Jesus says in today's Gospel (John 4:48). Jesus isn't speaking out of frustration. He is simply stating a fact.
At first glance, this may seem like something of a contradiction. Jesus performed miraculous works in order to signify the coming of the Kingdom of God, to assert his identity as the Messiah, and as proof of the truth of his teachings. Jesus knew that his miracles would attract attention.
Indeed, Jesus wanted the attention that his miracles would bring, so that having captured the notice of the crowds, he might teach them the saving words of the Gospel.
Jesus' miracles are catalysts to awaken faith in those who witness them. They are not performed for their own sake, but to draw people to belief in Christ. In this sense, a wish for "signs and wonders" risks being no more than a search for a spiritualized form of entertainment, forgetful of Jesus himself.
The miracles of Christ "are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic. Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 548).
One of the lessons of this Gospel is that we should always be seeking Christ. Even when we are asking for some favor or blessing, we do so in order to know Christ better: to know and embrace his will and to be strengthened in the spirit of discipleship.
What happened in the parish that I mentioned earlier? After making his final, somewhat provocative statement, the priest walked away. In a few days parishioners lost interest in the "vision" refocused their attention where it mattered most, seeking Christ in his Word and in the Holy Eucharist. Let us do likewise.
Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, TX, a suburb of Houston.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Daily Homily, Year of Faith, Gospel of St. John, Faith, Miracles of Jesus, Healing, Signs and Wonders, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, St. Theresa Sugar Land
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Year of Faith News
- Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God in Himself and Us in God
- Fr Dwight Longenecker on the Holy Trinity and Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life
- FRIDAY HOMILY: Is It Lawful or Just a Lower Standard?
- THURSDAY HOMILY: Becoming Salty Christians in a World Without Flavor, Rotting from Within
- True and False Spirituality: Beware the Friends of Job or How to Deal With Fair-weather Friends
- WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Finding God Where You Would Rather Not Look
- TUESDAY HOMILY: Holy and Unholy Ambition
- We Need a New Pentecost: Come Holy Spirit, Come With Your Fire!
- MONDAY HOMILY: I Do Believe, Help My Unbelief!
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?