Homily for Friday, December 7, 2012

Today’s Readings

If you’ve ever been to a desert, such as in Arizona or in another part of the world, you understand the power of water. You can see the effects of the lack of water by observing the plants and vegetation that grow there. They are not lush, and often in a desert there are not too many things that are green.

So to help understand in yet another way how God gives us life in extreme ways, we encounter yet another image. Imagine how lush an orchard seems. Imagine how precious is the fruit that is produced in a climate where it is surrounded by dryness.

While we are not describing a climate when talking about our souls, we probably know what it feels like to be dry in a spiritual sense. Great saints had periods of spiritual dryness that sometimes lasted for years. It seems the closer they got to God, the harder it became to see God as he is. When St. Teresa of Calcutta, commonly known as Mother Teresa, wrote about this dryness and her words were published, some took this to mean that she must not have believed in God.

But they missed the point. Wile certainly faith can give us good feelings, and can be a consolation, faith is not simply defined by feelings. Rather, faith is an assent of our will to do God’s will. We do not pray just to feel good, in the same way that parents do not simply care for their children only when it feels good. In the middle of the might, when they would rather sleep, they awaken to care for their children.

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It is in this context the gospel can be understood. Certainly the blind men had not been able to see for some time, indeed all of Their lives. They come to Jesus, and he asks them about their faith. It is clear why they approached Jesus. They believed he could cure them. Jesus asks this question not because they needed good feelings, but he needed to know they were open to what he could do for them. Maybe he needed to remind them of what he already knew was true. But in their answer they also became powerful witnesses to the God who can make the dry land fertile.

In other words, when we experience spiritual dryness in our lives, by seeking God we enable Him to feed us, to make the dry land of our soul fertile once again. Advent provides us the time to seek the fertile ground of a deep spiritual life with God. You just need to answer the question of Jesus: “Do you believe I can do this?”

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