The caption for today’s Gospel reads “If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you.” This statement is often taken to mean that, if we only believe hard enough, we could do anything – a kind of spiritual equivalent of the little engine that could.
But “faith” in the New Testament doesn’t mean assent to propositions
(for example, I believe that there are three persons in God). It doesn’t
mean believing in something, it means relying on someone. Faith in today’s
Gospel passage means committing oneself totally to, and relying utterly on,
the power of God acting through us.
Of course, we cannot move mountains just by believing we could.
Jesus’ miracles were not magic tricks. Throughout his ministry Jesus is talking
about the inaugural of God’s reign – God’s way of running human affairs.
The mountain here is the massive resistance that we humans place in the way
of God’s plan. God’s Kingdom is not a human construction; it is not something
we can bring about with our unaided powers, no matter how hard we try. Only
when we stop relying on and reveling in our human capabilities, and rely
instead on God’s power acting in and through us, will the mountain of human
resistance be moved aside and made low.
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