May I speak in the name of the Father, the son and the holy spirit.
Have you ever tried juggling? (Juggles 3 balls)I know that’s not a question you would normally expect to hear on t Sunday morning but let me explain. You see, to be able to juggle does take a certain amount of skill, patience and faith. Skill, because the eyes and hands need to work together. Patience because keeping three balls or more in the air does not happen in five minute. But faith, why would you need faith? Well there two sort of faiths happening. One is faith in yourself that you can learn to juggle and two faith in gravity. Both types of faith are a little tricky to fully believe. Faith in yourself is down to confidence and positive experience gained from overcoming past failures. Whereas as faith in gravity you would think is a bit of a no brainer. (drops a ball) See, there I proved gravity exists… but I cannot as easily prove the cause of gravity. If we think for a moment that we are on a planet that is spinning so fast that we literally being pulled down on it. Well it does boggle the brain somewhat! Yet, thankfully, here we are firmly attached to the ground and not floating off somewhere.
So, what I hear you ask, does juggling have to do with the gospel reading we heard today where Jesus experience lack of faith? I want to take you back, if I may, to last week’s gospel passage. Mark 5 retells the story of a woman who had been subject to bleeding for many years. She believed Christ could heal her even though many doctors had failed. But after reaching out, she is told by Jesus that it is her faith that healed her as if He himself did not have anything to do with it.
How different is today’s reading. Jesus goes about his hometown presumably teaching and healing as he has done before but this time, something is different. So different in fact that the scripture says ‘And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief’. Jesus could not do the work His Father had sent Him to do as there was no faith. No faith. No power. No healing! But wait a minute, isn’t God, well, God?! Can’t God do whatever He wants to do? What has faith got to do with it? (Throws ball into air and catches it) Well, like the juggler, faith is about working in partnership between the things we understand and the things we not so sure about. Of course God can do what He wants when He wants but then we wouldn’t be the children He wants us to be. He wants us to work with Him, in partnership with Him, learning, growing day by day to become more like Him. We can’t do that if He solves all our problems for us without any effort from us.
Faith is not assuming all will go our way if we prayer. Faith is not resting in His arms and just expecting everything to be ok. Faith is about regular prayer, chatting and listing to God, about being aware of Him working in our lives and us being active in response. As St Teresa of Avila once said
Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Christ has faith in us, like he had faith in the twelve whom he sent out to do His work. So if we accept His faith in us, and we grow in faith in Him then we can go out, proclaim His name, and bring His freedom to all we meet in our everyday lives.