Sunday, August 2, 2009

What Sign Can You Show Us?

See the Readings for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1. What sign can you show us? (John 6:30). The signs which they did see were done by Jesus in response to faith (trust). Jesus healed those who trusted that He could and would do it. The trust of the boy who gave Jesus the five loaves and two fish resulted in the feeding of the multitude.
2. Even though the the people had experienced sufficient signs to warrant their trust in Jesus’ words, they demanded more signs. They were not really interested in believing. They wanted to be in control. They were saying you show us a sign, and then we will decide whether or not to believe. But belief or trust is precisely not being in control. The Letter to the Hebrews says Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Although our faith may begin by the evidence which we see or experience regarding the works of God, ultimately our faith must be able to withstand the lack of evidence that we can see and judge. (That is not to say that faith must do violence to our reason. It is just the old adage seeing is believing is not really true. Rather, it is the other way around, at least in the realm of the spirit. Faith gives illumination to the reason while reason for its part can bolster faith).
3. In spite of those skeptics demand for more signs, Jesus would not play their game. Whether they believed Him or not, Jesus would be true to the mission that God His Father sent Him on- Salvation. Like the Israelites in the wilderness needed to trust in God to lead them through the desert and so enter into the Promised Land, so do we need to trust in the Son of God, Jesus and so enter into our true home- the Home of God our Father.
4. Through faith in Jesus we have begun this journey to our true homeland. And it is not simply a journey which will occupy our minds or our hearts. Salvation is for the whole person- body, mind and spirit. Therefore we need food for the journey. And Jesus has every intention of giving us this kind of food.
5. The food that Jesus will give is Himself- the Bread of Life, the Cup of Eternal Salvation. In the wilderness, God fed the children of Abraham because He lovd them. But the Lord sent the Mannah not to satisfy the skepticism of those who constantly complained, but rather to test and eventually strengthen their faith and trust. At this point of Jesus’ ministry, it appears time for Jesus to test those who were following Him. Do we trust Him? Do we believe that Jesus is the Bread of Life and will fulfill all our hungers?

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