Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34, 37; Psalm 81:3-6, 10-11; Matthew 13:54-58
Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop
He did not work many deeds there because of their lack of faith. (Matthew 13:58)
Imagine yourself rafting down a river, enjoying the cool summer breeze and the peaceful scenery. Then you run into a huge log. As you try to maneuver around it, your raft flips over, and you fall into the water, getting your feet caught between some rocks. You panic and start thrashing about and your friend jumps in after you. But he has a hard time releasing you because you’re struggling so much. “Let go!” he shouts over the water. “Relax! I’ve got you.” As you finally surrender, he gets you free and is able to bring you to the shore—safe and sound.
Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus wasn’t able to perform many miracles in his home town because of the people’s weak faith. Mind you, the people weren’t thrashing around emotionally, but they still couldn’t bring themselves to surrender to Jesus. They stayed stuck in their limited logical thinking, even though he was right in front of them, offering them a way out—and a way up.
In our journey with the Lord, we too need to learn to surrender to Jesus as our good friend and as the Lord of all creation. This is an important element in the call to faith: to trust that Jesus knows what he’s doing and to believe that he is strong enough to save you. Yes, faith has to do with knowing the doctrines of the Church. Yes, it has to do with trying our best to follow the commandments and to care for the poor and needy. And yes, it has to do with sharing our beliefs and standing up for what is right in this world. But at the heart of faith is this call to surrender. Without this, all the other things are drained of their power.
What usually gets you stuck? Fear and panic over the future? Guilt or resentments from the past? A “logical” approach to the present that doesn’t leave room for grace or the supernatural? Whatever it is, know that Jesus is inviting you to something greater. Imagine him standing in front of you, his arms open wide. Hear him tell you, “Relax. I’ve got you. You can let go.”
“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. By your grace, enable me to trust, and to reach out to you in confidence.”