Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE
Memorial of St. John Bosco
How well do you know Jesus Christ? After hearing this Gospel, we should all take a moment to seriously ask ourselves this question. Our condition as religious, or even as Christians for that matter does not guarantee that we have a living faith in Jesus Christ.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ “very own”, “his fellow countrymen” hardly knew Him at all.
Sure, they knew His profession, they knew His mother, they knew His relatives—they knew Him “superficially” from the outside—but they did not know Him—true God and true man.
Their lack of a true knowledge of Jesus Christ is not because of a lack of time spent with Him--a lack of proximity--but because of a lack of faith. We can't exucse them because of ignorance—we are all ignorant in some way because of original sin. Their's is a culpable lack of faith, because it stems from with pride—a choosing not to believe. This is precisely what is on display in today’s Gospel.
Mark tells us that Jesus’ countrymen knew of his great teachings and his mighty wonders, but instead of believing they, “took offense at Him”.
Because they lacked in faith and because they took offense at Him, Mark goes on to tell us that, "He could there do no mighty work."
We should not understand this to mean He could not perform any miracles, but that He did not choose to. Jesus, does not work any miracles there out of mercy—for He spared them, lest they should be worthy of greater blame, if they believed not, even with miracles before their eyes.
As we saw in yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus always conditions miracles on one thing: faith. Miracles not only require the power of the Worker, but also “the faith of the recipient, which was wanting in this case: therefore, Jesus did not choose to work any signs there.”
Am I growing in knowledge of Jesus Christ through faith? Is my faith is Christ living?
If we do not have a living faith in Christ, then we cannot expect Him--save some miracle of grace--to do "great things" in our life. If our faith in Him is not living, then there is no disposition of soul that Jesus can work with, just as in today's Gospel there was no disposition of soul in his fellow countrymen that allowed Him to work miracles there.
Furthermore, we can ask ourselves, does faith guide my meditations during the Holy Hour? Does faith move me to penetrate the mysteries concerning Christ that we are about to celebrate now in this Holy Mass?
Or do I only see things superficially?
To make one final point: as priests and future priests—our holiness and the holiness of others depends on our faith. If we have faith, it will inspire faith in others. If we lack faith, it will spoil the faith of others. For as the saint we honor today noted before his ordination: “No priest goes either to heaven or to hell alone. Faithful or unfaithful, he carries many with him. When it is a question of the salvation of souls I will always be prepared to humble myself, to suffer, and to act.”
Growing in faith requires humility, patience, and action.
Priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word