Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37
"And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. "
This sentence from today's Gospel is one that I find a bit haunting. Often I will hear people complain that the days of miracles are over. Many folk seem to believe that there is no use in praying since they do not believe that miracles can happen. And they wonder why nothing miraculous ever happens!
Our culture tends to expect everything without having to do anything. We live in an age when entitlement is an epidemic that drains the life out of the soul. I remember an episode of The Simpson's where Grandpa Simpson is walking down the street and complaining about how the young slackers want everything for free and are lazy and unworthy of anything. He then walks in to a government office and screams; "I'm old! Gimme, gimme, gimme!" I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe. How right on target is that scene. Often times we can be so self absorbed that we think we should have everything fall in our lap.
Our faith can get that way at times. We want the most return without any investment. If we do not exercise our faith then how can we expect to experience the miraculous? Do we honestly expect Jesus to do all of the work while we just sit back and expect him to drop our heart's desire in our lap? Don't we realize that Jesus has done all we need through his death, burial and resurrection? Jesus has already done the hard work and what does he ask of us in return? Faith.
If we think of Jesus as just some "celestial granter of wishes" then have no doubt, we will not experience the miraculous. If we let our hearts become lazy and cynical then how can we expect Jesus to work miracles with us? Today's Gospel reading shows the consequences of being hard hearted. The people missed out on the miraculous because they could not open their hearts. I believe our text calls us to open our hearts, exercise our faith and expect amazing things! And the most amazing thing that can happen to us is the deepening of our relationship with the Lord. As we exercise our faith we draw closer to the One who is our salvation. How great a miracle is that!?