Daily Reflection
March 31st, 2003
Tom Purcell
Accounting Department
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Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-13
John 4:43-54

We live in a time of signs and wonders, yet we do not act as if we believe.

John's commentary rightly notes today that a prophet has no honor in his native place.  Since the world has become so interwoven through the wonder of modern technology (reflect on viewing war in real time, with embedded reporters, and combatants able to email family via wireless technology, to see just one wonder), the world really is the "native place" for each of us.  If this is true, then prophets can arise anywhere in the world.  Are there prophets among us now?  Have there been prophets in our recent memory?  Are we paying attention to the prophets among us, or are we giving them no honor?  Do we look only to our own tribe for prophets, or do we look to the rest of our native land?

Jesus expresses just a hint of frustration that His own tribe doesn't believe in what He has to say, and the truth of His prophecy, unless they see signs and wonders.  If we truly believe, do we need signs and wonders?  Do we need to see, like the royal official, a cure of a sick child to believe in Christ's message?

Well, yes, we probably do.  Our faith is weak, and when we see and understand signs and wonders, we believe in them.  What are signs and wonders?  Many of the examples in the gospels are miracles, but are signs and wonders something besides the extraordinary?  If we have true awareness of God's presence in our lives, and we make an authentic response to that presence, then isn't every aspect of life a sign and wonder?  If our faith should slip, if our response should falter, contemplating life as signs and wonders again can shore up the foundation of our relationship with God.  Signs and wonders can help us feel God's presence, and reassure us.  Jesus understood this human weakness, and so used signs and wonders.

But signs and wonders won't help us unless we understand and accept them.  It is our response to the signs and wonders that is important.  We can see modern signs and wonders, yet what impact does it have on us?  Are we acting as if we believe?  When modern prophets interpret signs and wonders for us, are we paying attention?  Do we use signs and wonders consistent with God's purposes, or for our own?  When we observe the great blessings that modern signs and wonders can provide, do we share them freely or hoard them selfishly?  The most fundamental message from Jesus is to love one another unselfishly.  Ignatius felt love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words.

God, please forgive me - I live in a time of signs and wonders, yet I do not act as if I believe.  Please strengthen my faith so I can act on my beliefs.

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