Thursday, February 4, 2016

Do Not Persist in Your Unbelief

In the Gospel read at Mass yesterday, Wednesday, February 3, Jesus, accompanied by his disciples, came to his hometown of Nazareth to preach in the synagogue.  (Mark, 6:1-6)   In other words, he visited the town in which grew up where everyone knew him, and knew his father and his mother and his close relatives.  Here, despite coming in with the amazing reputation seen elsewhere in the Scriptures because of the long string of miracles and preaching authority, he was met with skepticism.  They couldn’t believe that this “boy” from their hometown had any sort of special authority.  Mary and Joseph were their neighbors.  Mary and Joseph had relatives who were natives of Nazareth.  Everyone knew the family well.  Jesus grew up with their own children, played the same games and ate at their own tables.  And now here he is preaching to them about the kingdom of God?  You can almost hear them saying “I don’t think so.”

Jesus could read their thoughts.  He called it a lack of faith.  And because they lacked faith, he could not perform the miracles he was known for.  Except for a couple of healings, he left the town without performing any special acts or deeds. 

It reminds me of the times we pray for a particular special favor (a miracle?) and get turned down.  The message is that unless we have faith, there will be no miracles.  So perhaps we ought to strive to first work on our faith … to pray for the gift of faith … to ask God to remove all doubt about his existence and his willingness to help us.  Think about his love for us.  Think about our surroundings, the universe, and the complexities of life.  Put your fingers into the nail holes and your hand into his side.  Then, as Jesus told Thomas after the Resurrection:  “Do not persist in your unbelief.”  God exists, he loves us, he saves us from our sins, and he wants us in heaven with him for all eternity.  Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe.  THEN, pray for your special miracle.

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