March 12, 2018
by George Butterfield
Creighton University's School of Law Library
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 244

Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalms 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b
John 4:43-54
Praying Lent Home

Lent Prayer for Today

The Fourth Week of Lent - 31 min. - Text Transcript


“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

It has been my experience that some people believe and some people do not whether or not they see signs and wonders. I have been reading through the Old Testament, following a guide that gives you the scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in portions that lead you through both in one year. I am constantly reminded of people who see signs and wonders and do not believe. Jesus is right that some people will not believe without them. It is also true that some people will not believe even with them. Their minds are simply made up and no amount of proof will blast them out of their practical atheism. The parting of the Red Sea, producing water from a rock, the appearance of manna each morning, etc., etc., did not produce a people of faith. They saw all of these things but only Caleb and Joshua, of all those over the age of twenty-one, survived the wandering in the wilderness. The people as a whole did not believe in God. They did not trust him.

Recently the gospel reading was about the rich man and Lazarus. In torment, the rich man is concerned about his five brothers. If he cannot get a drop of water for his parched tongue, at least he wants Abraham to send Lazarus to them to convince them that they do not want to come to where he is. Abraham's response is that they have Moses and the prophets. No, the rich man says, they will believe if someone risen from the dead comes back to them. Abraham responds that, if they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not listen even if one is risen from the dead. If you have the faith to believe in the risen Jesus, you have the faith to believe Moses and the prophets. If you do not have the faith to accept God's revelation through Moses and the prophets, then you will not believe in Jesus either. Who knows why some people believe and some do not?

In today's gospel a man asks Jesus to heal his dying son. This is when Jesus makes the comment, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” However, this man believes Jesus' word without seeing anything. He is sixteen miles from home when Jesus says that his son will live. He does not get a sign. He does not need a sign. The word of Jesus is enough for him. He heads home, believing that what Jesus said is true, only to find out that the son was healed at the exact hour that Jesus said, “You may go; your son will live.”

Do I need signs and wonders before I am willing to believe the Word of God? Some of us do. Can any amount of signs and wonders make some people believe? No. Are there those who trust God and believe what he says and have no need for signs and wonders? Yes. This is not to denigrate the miraculous. Sometimes God blesses us with signs and wonders. However, can I trust the words of God, whether or not I ever experience miracles? God is gracious and gives us what we need.

R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
“Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

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