Do you believe? So often in the gospels, a miracle or other divine action by Jesus is done because of the faith of the person to be healed. In fact, when he goes back home, he is not able to work miracles because the people do not have faith. We are reminded that our God is not invasive. The way in which God chooses to act in our lives is by respecting our freedom. It is not simply a case of barging into our soul, but rather being allowed in when we allow God to do so. The respect of our freedom is one of the most powerful signs of God’s love for us, for in being free agents we share an important quality of God, who is perfectly free.
But it is also the most problematic in some ways as well. How often have you heard people say, or maybe even you yourself, “Why doesn’t God prevent this disease, or evil?” And when we hear today’s encounter from the Acts we see that Paul and Barnabas are imitating the example of Jesus. Paul sees the man has the faith that he can be healed. This is not small thing. Perhaps this imitation of Jesus is what caused the crowds today to want to make them into something with which they were already familiar. They do not know Jesus, but they do know Paul, and they know the system of Greek gods and so they attempt to make Paul and Barnabas fit into that world.
The readings today got me to thinking about whether or not I would ever be confused for Jesus. In other words, would my actions, my attitudes, my example and witness, would these be so much like Jesus that people might mistake me for something with which they are already familiar. Have you ever wondered this? Have you ever thought about whether the way in which you interact with people is really in imitation of Jesus? Do you seek to have the beliefs, attitudes and actions of Jesus ever before you as the goal worthy of emulation?