Increase Our Faith
“… their lack of faith.”
This Gospel scene presents Jesus to us after he has traveled around Galilee gaining fame and popularity by teaching with authority and performing mighty deeds. Jesus might have hoped for a warm, supportive welcome from the people of his hometown, who had known him since his youth. But any hope of comfort or sympathy quickly disappears when he is faced with their suspicious questions and lack of faith.
What is this lack of faith? What exactly are they lacking? What is it that his neighbors cannot believe? Could it be that they are stuck in their own narrow ideas of God? Are they so convinced that they know how God should reveal himself that when God does reveal himself in a concrete, visible way in Jesus, they can’t recognize him?
Perhaps they haven’t lived in a relationship with God. To be “in relationship” with someone means that the parties continually reveal themselves to each other. It would be unreasonable to think I really know anyone through and through. The other person always remains somewhat of a mystery to me, no matter how long we have known each other or how much of ourselves we have shared. How much more true is this of God, who is totally other!
Perhaps Jesus’ admonition regarding their lack of faith refers to their lack of a living, growing relationship with God. Perhaps Jesus is inviting them to realize that no one has the last word on how God should be, act, or reveal himself. It is we who must remain open, longing to understand who he is and how he acts in our lives and in the world, ready to assent to what he does show us about himself, because he is God.
Jesus, sometimes I think I know you. I also think I know who the Father is and can recognize how he acts in my life. But how often I limit you because of my human and somewhat narrow vision. How often I may be lacking in faith because my relationship with you is based on my self-constructed image of you. Help me, instead, to see the reality of yourself that you are revealing to me day by day. Help me to live today open to what you will teach me about yourself, about the Father, about my relationship with you.
“I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24).
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 302–303). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.