Wouldn’t believing in God and having faith be so much easier if we saw a miracle every single day? I certainly think it would be…
If children born blind could miraculously see or if people diagnosed with cancer were miraculously cured every single day, then no one would ever be able to doubt the existence of God. If wars were miraculously ended and no soldiers killed, if starving children were miraculously fed 10 course meals each night, and if abortion were to miraculously be outlawed at this very moment…well, every single person in the world would have instant faith, right?
There’s no reason to doubt God when He miraculously reveals Himself every single moment of every single day.
But, if miracles are the only thing that establish and keep our faith in God alive, then it isn’t really faith that we have. If Jesus has to heal the blind child and feed the hungry family in order for us to believe that He is truly God, then the problem lies not with the person who cannot see or who has no food – the problem lies with us.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus is being followed around by a bunch of his newest “fans.” They’ve seen Him do some incredible things, like change water into wine at a wedding feast and heal the Roman official’s son. After feeding over five thousand people at once, the multitudes are convinced that maybe they should be paying attention to this Jesus-guy who is walking around doing all of these amazing things. But, Jesus fusses at them. All these people want are miraculous tricks. Their faith is entirely grounded on seeing something amazing happen rather than believing in what Jesus is teaching.
If you just want miracles, you don’t have faith. If you just want Jesus to give you what you asked for, you don’t have faith. If you expect the Lord to snap His fingers and answer every request in an instant, no matter how absurd or out of line with His will it may be, you don’t have faith. That’s treating Jesus Christ like a magician rather than worshiping Him as the Son of God.
But, if you believe in what Jesus Christ says, and if you fervently believe that the miraculous things He does are in line with the will of the Father, then you will experience a miracle. It may not be a miracle the way one would expect, such as a healing or an exorcism, but it will certainly be a sign far greater.
If we believe in the one whom God “has set His seal” and if you work “for food that endures for eternal life,” then you will be given bread from heaven. You will get to experience the bread of life that satisfies all hunger and quenches all thirst. In fact, if you have faith greater than mere physical miracles, you will be given the greatest miracle of all: the Eucharist.
See, it’s not that Jesus doesn’t want to perform miracles. It’s that Jesus wants to give us something even greater than a physical and outward sign. He wants to give us His very Body and Blood. Of all the things we should desire, this is the most important. Of all the signs we hope to see, this is the one to fix our eyes upon. The Eucharist far surpasses anything else Jesus has to do, say, or offer, because it is Him literally in the flesh with us, to be consumed by us and then transform us. When we go to Him, hungry and burdened and tired and thirsty, Jesus does perform a miracle – He gives us Himself. Just as He created more wine at a wedding and just as He healed the official’s son and just as He fed the multitudes, so too does Jesus miraculously provide for us with the bread of life given to us in the Holy mass.
Faith would be so much easier if we saw miracles every day. Lucky for us, the Eucharist is just that: a daily miracle, present in all the Churches throughout the world, so that we can see the God miraculously revealing Himself to us. And as He does miraculously reveal Himself every day in the Eucharist, then there’s certainly no reason to ever doubt Him.