The final paragraph of this Sunday’s Gospel reading is very revealing: Jesus did not “trust” himself to the converts whose faith in him was based on the signs and wonders that he had done. The reason: He did not want anyone to testify (i.e., spread the faith) about the limitations of human nature.
Faith based on signs and wonders is human nature: It’s easier to put faith in what we can humanly see, touch, and hear than to believe in a God who is invisible and who usually sounds very silent. There is nothing supernatural about this kind of faith, but God is very supernatural.
What happens to our faith when we pray and pray and pray for God’s intervention and there are no signs indicating that we’ll get what we want? Our reaction to unanswered prayers is an indicator of how natural or supernatural our spiritual life really is.
Jesus knew that his physical presence was the greatest sign of all, but it would soon be taken away. Don’t we sometimes wish that Jesus would appear in front of us and make himself audible to our human ears? We think it would make our faith stronger.
Typically, we base our faith on many signs: prayers being answered, love being evidenced, peace and happiness filling our hearts, etc. But what happens to our faith when we enter the dark night of trials and difficulties? Do we continue to trust God when we can no longer see or feel signs that he cares?
The kind of faith we need when faith matters most comes from a relationship of trust. Real trust. We choose to trust God for who he really is and how much he really cares, rather than on what the evidence seems to say.
To succeed in this, we need supernatural faith. When we’re united to the divinity of Christ, we join ourselves to his faith. We then trust him so much that we don’t need signs.
Remember this the next time you receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Not only are you consuming his body, you are also uniting yourself to his divinity. And he is uniting himself to you! If you truly believe this, of course there will be miracles, but that is not the greatest gift that he’s sharing with you.
What he wants to give you most of all is HIS ALL.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
Name some of the signs you rely upon that convince you that God is real and that he truly cares about you. How do you feel when those signs are taken away? Are these feelings based on the reality of God’s unending love or on fear?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Have you ever wished that Jesus would appear to you? Why? Did God provide what you needed some other way? How do you remind yourself that God cares during those difficult times when you can’t see it or feel it?