Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. - William Shakespeare: (1564 (baptized) –1616: was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language)
Gospel Text: (MT 13:54-58)
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
"Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter's son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?"
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
"A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house."
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.
The last sentence of today’s Gospel passage presents something of a conundrum. No matter how we interpret the fact that Jesus “did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith”, we are challenged.
Some might interpret these words to mean that Jesus’ power to work miracles was constrained by the lack of faith of those in His hometown. More sensible, however, is to see Jesus’ lack of miracles as a prudent choice on His part. It doesn’t require faith on the part of people for God to work miracles. It requires faith on the part of people for God’s miracles to bring about their primary goal. God’s goal when He completely cures someone who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer is not to give that person immortal life on earth. His goal is to bring the one cured and those around him to a greater practice of love for God and neighbor, so as to give them immortal life in Heaven.
We are challenged, then, to admit where we lack faith in our own lives. We are challenged to allow the miracles that God works to bear fruit in our lives. We are challenged not to live for ourselves, but for others, beginning with the Other who calls us to share in His life of love.