“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
By Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
Homily for the seventh Sunday after Pentecost
(Mt 9: 27-35)
I read a story about a father who lost his only son in a tragic accident. His whole world collapsed. He said later: “Three ways were open to me: despair, drink, or Christ. I chose Christ, and that’s where the power came from”.
Another story: a woman told that she had gone through the hell of alcoholism. Several times she had tried suicide. Finally, she was referred to a psychiatrist. As she stumbled from his office, she found herself pronouncing a word she had never said before except in profanity. “I don’t need a psychiatrist. What I need is God”. That evening she fell to the floor by her bed and prayed, “Oh, God! If you are anywhere about, I hope you’ll help me, for I sure need it.” “In twenty minutes”, she said, “it was all over’. Christ’s power came into her life and she has been a new person since then.
The Gospel of today is about the healing power of Jesus. Jesus asked the blind men: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said: “Yes, Lord”. Then he touched their eyes, saying: “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened.
We, Christians, believe that God’s power was present in the person and activity of Jesus Christ, and is now present in the person of the risen Lord. He is, according to St. Paul, “the power of God and the wisdom of God”. We believe this, relying on the testimony of the Apostles, most of whom were simple fishermen. They didn’t believe in Jesus thanks to an intellectual discovery, but to a personal experience. They lived with him, and they saw him “going about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity.”
Before healing the blind men, Jesus asked them: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He asked for their faith, and when he healed them he told them: “According to your faith be it done to you.”
Our life in Christ is a “synergy”, a work of cooperation between Christ and us. Faith is our part in this work of cooperation. Christ cannot work in us without our cooperation. By faith we are turning our face toward his face. It seems that God desires this very simple action to happen so that he can face us, face to face! Yes, he wants to look at our face. He loves to see our face facing him, for so often we avoid this simple act. Even while we beg him for simple favors we somehow close not only our physical eyes but the eyes of our souls as well – strangely avoiding looking at him. Yet we know that he always looks at us, looks at us with deep love.
Faith healed so many who believed in God. There were not only these two blind men, but also the leper, the woman with the issue of blood, the servant of the Roman soldier and millions of others not recorded.
In our life we are so often surrounded by darkness. Faith allows us to enter peacefully into the dark night which faces everyone of us at one time or another. Faith is at peace, and full of light. Faith walks simply, childlike, between the darkness of human life and the hope of what is to come.
Our face is turned to God through faith, and our eyes meet, so that every day becomes more and more luminous. The veil between God and us becomes less and less until it breaks through barriers.
Faith is contagious when we show it to one another. Men and women cannot resist faith, even when they deny it and laugh at it and jeer at it and even kill the one who has faith.
The blind men came to Jesus with their blindness. He touched them, and they were healed. We, too, may come to Him today with our weaknesses, our sins, our problems, and our own blindness. Like them we may say, “Have mercy on us, Son of David”. He will ask, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” If our answer be “Yes, Lord”, He will fill us with an inner peace that will be beyond what we ever imagined. “Never was anything like this seen in Israel”, said the crowd at the time of Jesus. And never will anything like this be experimented in our life once we receive today the infilling of his presence and power.
The last sentence Jesus said to his Apostles before been elevated to heaven was: “And know that I am with you always to the end of time”. He is always with us. Let us be always with him. Amen.