Daily Office Readings Gospel ( John 4:43-54 )
Every now and again I hear people talking about “putting faith into action.” It is generally when they are talking about going out to do some sort of service project, because we tend to equate a defined set of rules to live by with Faith. Sure, there’s some similarities, because if we believe these rules for living to be true, then we will certainly act upon them.
But I think today’s Gospel gives us a better understanding of what “faith in action” is really all about. When the official from Capernaum comes to talk to Jesus, he asks him to heal his son, and Jesus’ response is that the man would never believe “unless he sees signs and wonders.”
More often than not, it seems that people want to see signs and wonders before they are willing to risk making a decision or risk acting upon what they feel God might want. And only when they get the sign or see the miracle, that’s when they begin acting upon what they believe.
But that’s not faith at all. That’s certainty. That’s acting upon what can be seen and known.
Faith is doing as the man from Capernaum did. When Jesus told him that he wouldn’t believe until he saw the signs and wonders, the man says, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus says, “Go; your son will live.”
And the man goes. He hasn’t received a sign or a miracle at this point. Just a commandment to go and a promise of healing. It’s all just possibility at this point, but still he goes. And it is on his way that his servant meets him and tell him that his son has been healed.
That’s putting faith into action: acting on a mere promise, without a sign or certainty that things will happen. Faith is acting as though what you believe has already happened.