Sermon for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost
by Father Larent Demets
When Jesus returned to Galilee from Judea, His reputation as a wonder-worker had already spread throughout the area. It was in Cana that He had performed His first miracle, and people should have spread the account of that miracle by word of mouth. However Galilee remained incredulous about Jesus who gave testimony that a prophet hath no honor in his own country. The contrast is great between the residents of Samaria with whom Jesus stayed only two days and those of Galilee, His own countrymen.
The Samaritans, a people who embraced the Faith without having been witnesses of His miracles, have come to represent the Christian people, the new spiritual race of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The people of Galilee represent the Jews who have rejected Christ in spite of the great many miracles He performed among them. But His charity pressed Him to return to them. There, He was received by those who had seen the miracle of the festival day. They were his disciples, the only who had believed in Him after the miracle.
There, in Capharnaum, there was a man, a certain ruler, whose son was sick when Jesus arrived. This ruler thought that perhaps, after all, this man who could perform miracles like turning water into wine could also heal his son. The ruler had nothing to loose, except maybe his reputation and it might be worth it. He went to Jesus with the hope of seeing his son healed by this special man, but he didn’t have great Faith. Our Lord admonished him: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not. And the ruler came to believe, indeed, only after he saw the miracle, or at least after he heard about it, as Saint John makes note. He and his family finally accepted Faith in Jesus Christ true God and true man. But what about the rest of the people of Galilee?
Signs and wonders can help us to have Faith, but they don’t necessarily generate it in a soul. Faith is a free act of our intelligence enlightened by God. You may see some signs and wonders, but if you don’t want to believe, you will not believe. The reverse is also true, you can believe without having seen any miracles at all. I guess it is the case for most of us.
Saint Augustine points out that what happened in the gospel with the Samaritans and the Galileans is what happened with the Jews who saw and touched Jesus during his Passion but didn’t believe it. The Samaritans prefigured the Faithful who believe without having seen but who have Faith in the teaching of Jesus. We should believe in the word of Jesus and without expecting miracles. The fact is that, too often, we do the opposite. We seek for the wonders and don’t pay much attention to the words of Our Lord.
You certainly have Faith regarding the great truth revealed by God and taught by the Church, which is good and necessary. But do you really live with this Faith. Do you trust God every day of your life, knowing and acknowledging that He provides everything you need? Do you simply ask him what you need or what you want?
Faith teaches us that God is not only the principle of morality, of order and a pure object of worship as could be the case for many false religions. He is also and most importantly, Our Father, as the Son has revealed it. So, our Faith should be a childlike Faith: the faith of children who push, press, and lean upon their Father with all that that entails.
May Our Lady give us this Faith, so that we can really recognize Jesus as the Son of God who came into the world to redeem us and to teach us how to worship and love our heavenly Father. May she help us to consider ourselves as true children of God. The prayer of the holy Rosary will help us in this spiritual way.