Skip to content

MONDAY HOMILY: Being Awake to Faith

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds
3/11/2013 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online) Some years ago, a priest related his account of an event that took place in his parish shortly after he was assigned there.  Prior to his arrival, the pastor had cleaned the interior of the church, including the stone trim around the niches sheltering the side altars.  When the new pastor arrived, he noticed that large numbers votive candles had been placed on the floor of the that area.

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.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2017
Young People.
That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.


Comments


More Year of Faith

The Happy Priest on the Baptism of the Lord and our own Baptism Watch

Image of

The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism.  If you do not know the date of your own ... continue reading


Regret of Judas or Repentance of Peter?

Image of

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, ... continue reading


Pentecost: St Cyril of Jerusalem on The Living Water of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables ... continue reading


The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.