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From God of “Miracles” to God of “Faith”

Lord, save us! We are perishing” In the midst of a great disaster, Jesus was sleeping on the boat ‘unaware’ of all the happenings (Mt 8:25)! At Cana Jesus seems to resist Mary’s plea to intervene in the families’ plight (Jn 2:4). His seemingly cruel silence and harsh response to the Canaanite woman belie our expectations. Why Jesus takes such an indifferent attitude at all? Jesus, who directed the disciples to walk an extra mile with the one who forces to follow one mile (Mt 5:41) also expects from us to take an extra act of faith to carry out His works on earth.

Everything was safe when the disciples took Jesus on the boat and started their journey. They might be engaged in their world and leaving Jesus alone to rest in the boat. When they wake him up, Jesus rebukes his disciples of their lack of faith. So also our life can take such a turn. Baptism and a period of sacramental nourishment create in us a feeling that Jesus truly lives in us and take for granted that we are true devotees. But the fact remains same that Jesus is sleeping on the boat. Our busy schedule, priorities, quest for better amenities, cherished dreams often leave God as an untimely guest or unwanted intruder. The time put in prayer and sacramental life shrinks and God is side-lined to sleep at the unnoticed corners of life. He becomes less dear to our life. Storms and strong waves are normal in sea of life but at the time of danger our human powers and faculties becomes insignificant and our “dormant Godly trust” and capacities neither come for our aid. This is how disciples become people of “little faith” (Mt 8:26). This necessitated Jesus to correct them.

At Cana Jesus was one among many invited guests. It was Mary who introduced Jesus to them. When our reservoirs are full, no one notices one who offers “the living water” (Jn 4:10). Once faced with vine running out all must have sought their own ways of resolving the issue. No one dares even to “test” Jesus because they lack taste of God and was he was unnoticed. But Mary knew that Jesus could resolve it because she held Him closer to her heart. She notices him and brings him back to the scene. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.” (Ps 127: 1-2) Quite oft en we encounter God as the last straw when all other doors are closed. That is precisely the reason why we always seek a chance of “Miracle from God.” Isaiah always reminds us to “seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near” (Isa 55:6). Those who trust always pass their eyes to above and never go empty even when the minimum things are lacking (1 Kgs 17:16).

Even if the words of Jesus seems directly hurting the core of her identity, the Canaanite woman does not stir because she was footed well on her faith. For, she had strong trust in God beyond what oft en coined as a ‘fascination towards a miracle worker’. She is well understood the nature of God and remains calm at the provoking words of Jesus. She goes back home contented and saved (Mt 15:21-28).

All Three instances clearly show leap of faith of the believer. In the face of a danger, shamefulness and disease they come across Jesus, the saviour. At sea and Cana disciples wakes up to faith after the miracle. But the Canaanite woman encounters Jesus with a well footed ground of faith. This is why Jesus lauds the woman. As we grow in our spiritual life let us not seek for a “God of Miracles” but seek God who continually invites to live a life of profound faith and charity. The “indifference of God” at times is necessary to test our love and fidelity.

Peter was tested of his love thrice (Jn 21:15- 19) before he was handed over shepherding the flocks. Then onwards he is not following Jesus because of a fascination but true love and commitment leads his ways. Jesus also continually knocks at the doors of our heart to be opened for him and to be dined with Him (Rev 3:20). When are we sparing a decent place for the Saviour in our heart? “Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl 12:1).

Fr Sebastian Kallarackal CST

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