Saturday of the 12th Week in ordinary time. Bible Study: Lamentations 2:2-19, Psalm 74:1-7, 20-21, Matthew 8:5-17

“Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith…. Go; let it be done for you according to your faith. And the servant was healed in that hour.” (Matthew 8:10-13).

Our first reading today, taken from the book of Lamentations expresses the pain, sorrow and frustration of a people taken from their homeland and made to live like slaves in a strange place. By displacing the Israelites, the Babylonians sought to make them forget their history but more importantly to make them forget the living God. Many Israelites actually lost faith in God.

Years before the Babylonian deportation, God had sent so many prophets to warn the people to repent of their sinfulness but they persecuted and killed these prophets. Even their kings gave themselves over to the worship of foreign gods. As the saying goes, the grass always looks greener on your neighbour’s lawn. It is a fact of history that people do not value what belongs to them until it is taken away from them.

Just as the Israelites fancied foreign gods made of wood, iron and stone, many of us Christians believe more in charms, occultic powers and forces of darkness. Some of us even try to combine our worship of God with active participation in such circles. We are neither here nor there. Dear friends, where exactly do you belong?

The irony of life is that while we look down on what is ours, others value it more. While many were struggling to believe in Jesus, a Centurion; that is, a Roman Soldier in charge of a hundred soldiers had enough faith to see that Jesus is God; that He only needs to speak the word and the whole world would obey. Even Jesus was amazed at his great faith: “in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Can Jesus say this of you too? Do you believe there is power in prayer?

The lesson we learn today comes from the statement of Jesus to the Centurion: “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” If my faith was money, how much would it worth? Before you start asking God for anything, ask sincerely: “Am I expecting it to happen?” Just as He touched the leper, Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law and she was cured instantly of her fever. We have an opportunity to touch Jesus today when we receive Holy Communion, but the question is: “Do I believe that Jesus will heal me when I touch him?”

Dear friends, we cannot deceive God, we cannot pretend when it comes to faith. As one great man said: Faith is the assurance of things not seen but the reward of faith is to see those things we hoped for. Do I believe in the power of God?

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my faith in you that I may never disappoint you by going after false gods. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you.