Daily Reflection
August 5th, 2003
Mike Cherney
Physics Department
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Numbers 12:1-13
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 12-13
Matthew 14:22-36, or Matthew 15:1-2, 10-14

I am not a man of great faith.  Today's readings show I am not alone.  As a scientist, it is my nature to question.  This extends to questioning the religious customs around me.  Like Aaron in today's reading from Numbers I find myself asking, "Is it through Moses alone that the Lord speaks?  Does he not speak through us also?"  In a world dominated by relativism, I continue to believe it up to us to determine who is the prophet.  I hope my end is better than that of Aaron and his wife.

In the Gospel, I find it easy to place myself in the role of one of the apostles.  I am comforted that the founders of our faith had their fears and their doubts.  Today's Gospel follows the story of the feeding of the masses.  The apostles are portrayed in a world with active signs of God's intervention.  We live in a much more subtle age.  In the same way the Iraqi people want to see the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein, reports and promises are often not enough to overcome our doubting human nature.

At the end of the Gospel we are treated to the success of those with faith. "(They) begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed."  I see the satisfaction and confidence of those with a deep faith.  I am not there.  I find myself jealous.  Reflecting on the Gospel, my mind is more like that of the apostles who fail to recognize our Lord on the sea than like those of faith at the end of the passage who identify Him immediately.  There is consolation in knowing how the apostles will progress.

I see the miracle stories of the Gospel carrying still another challenge.  I notice these passages show ordinary people who are drawn to live out extraordinary things.  Without commitment, I see men destined to accomplish only what men can accomplish.  Acting in faith, I see these people realizing experiences beyond our limitations.

With my doubts and my failings, I have no difficulty with the responsorial psalm.  I recognize I am not the person I might be.  I find myself comfortable praying, "A steadfast spirit renew within me."


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