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(Part 15)


December 3, 2012

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122:1-2,3,4,8-9
Matthew 8:5-11

Faith indeed does work wonders. Because of the centurion’s faith, Jesus healed his servant by “remote control.” Nothing is impossible for God. God can cause the nations to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Is 2:4b). God brings healing and peace.

What needs to happen? We need to “walk in the light of the Lord!” (Is 2:5). For that to happen, we need to allow the Lord to “instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” (Is 2:3c). For that to happen, we need to enter into the presence of God and be part of His people. “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob” (Is 2:3b).

For all that to happen, we need to BE.LI.EV.E!

When we put our faith in Jesus, then God will reign in our lives. Then as King “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples.” (Is 2:4a). With God as Lord and Ruler, then “one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (Is 2:4c).

This is not the situation in the land where Jesus walked. The conflict in the Holy Land seems impossible to settle. Nations are preparing for war. Israel against Hamas and Iran; the Arab nations against Israel. The UN recognizing Palestine; Israel expanding its settlements in occupied land. The Syrian civil war spilling over into Lebanon. The Muslim Brotherhood governing Egypt supporting Hamas. How can it happen that “all nations shall stream toward” the mountain of the Lord’s house? (Is 2:2c).

It can only happen through faith in Jesus. Both Muslims and Jews reject Jesus as God and Messiah. Indeed, many Christians do too. If only the world accepted the lordship of Jesus, then they will be guided as to the way of true peace. “For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Is 2:3d).

This is the mission of God’s people. This is missio ad gentes. But before Christians can effectively bring Christ to pagans, they need to themselves live lives of true faith. They need to BE.LI.EV.E!

Unfortunately, many Christians do not have the faith of the centurion. They have not allowed Jesus to “enter under (their) roof” (Mt 8:8b). They keep Jesus out, or at arm’s length, often to be connected with only in times of need. Many Christians do not look to the imperishable word of God and expect healing from that word (Mt 8:8c). For fulfillment and wellness they look to the world, including New Age religions. Many Christians have not placed themselves “subject to authority” (Mt 8:9a) under Jesus. They live their own lives, make their own rules, have their own agenda, follow their own priorities.

And many Christians do not obey the Person who is their Lord and Master. Jesus tells his disciples to follow him but they do not. Jesus tells his disciples to evangelize but they do not. So Jesus is constrained from speaking like the centurion, who said: “And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Mt 8:9b). Perhaps that is why “when Jesus heard this, he was amazed” (Mt 8:10a). Perhaps Jesus would say to all of us, “to those following him, ‘Amen, I say to you, in no one is Israel (Philippines, America, Europe, etc.) have I found such faith.’” (Mt 8:10b). How sad and heart-breaking that is.

So we start with ourselves. We truly BE.LI.EV.E! As we have faith, we obey. As we meet Christ, we live Christ and we share Christ. We spread the faith, first and foremost within the Catholic Church herself, then to the nations of the world. We must live Christ and share Christ with a passion. We must know that faith works wonders.

Then perhaps it will be as Jesus said, “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 8:11). O what a glorious day that will be! “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” (Ps 122:1).

Then all peoples and all nations can say to one another: “May peace be yours. May blessings be yours.” (Ps 122:8b,9b).

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