The call addressed to each of us is to believe in our Lord totally. As we read the Gospels we can see that a great deal of our Lord’s ministry was directed to bringing people to believe in him and to accept his word.
We remember the occasion when our Lord went back to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. That turning of water into wine was the first time when, as St John says, our Lord let his glory be seen. And so he returned to Cana. There came to him a court official whose son was at the point of death. He asked our Lord to come and cure his son. Our Lord said, “So you will not believe unless you see signs and wonders!” “Sir,” answered the official, “come down before my child dies.” Our Lord responded, “Go home, your son will live.” The man believed what our Lord had said and started on his way back. On the way he received word that his son was alive - and he found out that the change began at the very time our Lord said that he would live. St John finishes telling us of the event by saying that he and all his household believed. Belief was what our Lord was asking for, and the inspired writer knew it.
When our Lord, risen from the dead, appeared to his apostles, this time with Thomas among them, he said to Thomas, “Thomas, you believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Our Lord wants belief from those who have not seen. Then at the end of his Gospel St John states that he had written all these things about our Lord so that we would believe that he is the Christ the Son of God, and believing this we would find life in his name. Our Lord came to give us life, life in abundance, but it would depend on our having faith in him.
You, dear reader, would have a degree of faith in this or that person whom you know. It may be your mother or father, it may be your spouse, it may be a friend, or whoever. You have faith in that person to a certain extent - perhaps to a very great extent. Now, if you were to be asked, why do you have faith in that person? What warrants your having this faith? You would probably say I believe in that person because I know her. You have come to know her, and you trust her, you believe in her.
In the case of our faith in our Lord, we are powerfully helped by the fact that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit at our baptism, and the Holy Spirit confers on us the gift of faith, making it not only possible to believe our Lord, but not at all difficult even though we have not seen him. With this gift, we are given a spiritual inclination to trust our Lord and to accept his word. What a blessing that is, inasmuch as he is God! But if that heavenly inclination is to reach its full potential, we must make it our business to get to know our Lord. Let us then spend a few minutes right now thinking of him.
Our Lord was and is really man, fully human, but he is not merely human. We are human, our Lady is human, we are all human, but we are merely human. We are fallen too. Our Lord is fully human - just as human as we are and more so inasmuch as his humanity has not been deformed by original sin. He was of a certain height, certain features, a certain weight, he spoke his language with a certain accent. His voice had a certain timbre. He came from a certain locality and grew up in a family circle of mother and foster father, and with many other relatives - cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents. He had a certain ancestry on both Mary and Joseph’s side which combined to make up the various natural endowments of his humanity. He was man, and he was God too. He had existed from all eternity, equal to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. That is the wonder of him. He was an historical man who was and is God, the Son of God. We have every reason to believe in him. He asks us to do that. I invite you to do that now.
We ought ask ourselves, have I tried to get to know our Lord? How do the Gospels portray him? To begin with, he, man though he is, is full of power - he is almighty. He effortlessly cured the sick as one who had unheard-of power and who could use it at a word. On one occasion our Lord went up to Jerusalem, and at what was called the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem there were crowds of sick people. One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty eight years. St John tells us that our Lord knew he had been in this condition for a long time. I have wondered if our Lord was familiar with him from his own early adolescence, because twenty years earlier our Lord as a twelve year old had begun to come to the Temple in Jerusalem with his parents. He may have seen him there from that time. Perhaps Mary and Joseph had told him that the man had been there in this condition even before our Lord was born. Well, when he saw the man lying there, our Lord quietly took the initiative and asked, “Do you want to be well again?” There is no mention of a watching crowd - it appears to have been a conversation between only the two of them. And within a few moments of talking he cured him.
So we think of our Lord’s power, of his desire to help, and of his initiative in doing so. Time and again in the Gospels we see our Lord driving out devils, raising the dead, curing lepers. He calmed the storm at a mere word, walked on the turbulent waters, fed vast crowds with a few loaves. His power is manifested in his mercy. So we ought place all our afflictions - most of all our spiritual afflictions, our sins, our attachments to sin, our reluctance to rise from spiritual ill-health and inertia and seek holiness of life - before the one who has the power to transform us into his image. Let us resolve to do that for we can trust him. There is no one we can believe in more. He awaits our faith where he abides, in our hearts, and especially in the Eucharist.
But also, our Lord was full of wisdom. When he was a mere twelve year old, our Lord profoundly impressed the teachers and doctors of the Law in Jerusalem with his intelligence and his questions. I wonder whether any of the teachers and doctors of the Law who witnessed the child Jesus before them with his astounding intelligence were still around when he appeared years later engaged in his public minstry. Once his public ministry had begun, the people were amazed at the wisdom of his teaching and how he spoke with authority. He spoke as one who could and did teach with utter certainty the full truth that came from God. He could not make a mistake in anything remotely pertaining to his mission. Nor could he deceive, or utter a falsehood. He could be utterly relied on. He was and is the truth, and the way to the truth. The scribes and the pharisees were all conspiring to trap him with their questions and their heckling, but our Lord effortlessly answered all questions and the Gospel specifically says that he reduced the Sadducees to silence. No one could get the better of him when it came to knowledge of the truth. They did not dare to ask him any more questions. So he can be relied on completely to tell us the truth about God and what God wants. Our belief in him should be firm and consistent, belief in him and in those who teach in his name.
Beyond the compassion and the power and the wisdom our Lord displayed, our Lord claimed he was God, and he asks for our full faith and love. There are many great figures in history - not nearly as great as our Lord, of course, but none of them asked for a full faith in his person and in his teaching. They proposed their teaching and invited recognition of what they believed to be its truth. But our Lord asked for absolute and complete faith without any reservations, faith and fidelity to his person unto death, the readiness to die for him and for the truth of what he taught. And that is what we must give him, our full and complete faith. Why? Because we know who he is. He is the redeemer of the world, and he is God. What a One to be loving and caring for us!We are blessed with possessing Jesus, and in him comes every heavenly blessing. He is present in the Eucharist, in our tabernacle day and night awaiting our company. I invite you to make spiritual communions often every day, uniting ourselves with the Jesus whom the Gospels reveal to us and who is present for us in the Eucharist. When we think of Jesus we ought think of the Eucharistic Jesus. I invite you right now to make fervent acts of faith in him. In him we can place our total trust. Let us do that now, asking the Holy Spirit to help us. In you Jesus I believe. In you I hope. You I love. Help me to come to know you more and more so as to love you more and more.