Seeing is believing, or so they say, yet there were many in Jesus’ day who saw many good things that He did and still did not believe. Faith, as strong as it may seem at times, is a delicate thing, especially if we try to rely on our own inner strength to keep it strong. Just as in Jesus’ day, there are those who would challenge our belief and try to make us question whether our faith might be misplaced or overly innocent in nature. When we hear the Gospels depicting the miraculous cures of Jesus we may feel a little left out, wishing we could have seen it with our own eyes but, Jesus Himself tells us through His words to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn. 20:29). He is speaking of us and it is good for us to remember these words often so as not to take our Faith for granted.
Fear is another challenge to Faith. When we are confronted with the unknown and the difficulties of life it is easy for us to question our resolve to remain faithful yet, God, through the prophet Isaiah, tells us today to “Be strong, fear not!” Again, this is often easier said than done. The key is to remember that God is not challenging us to rely solely on our own inner strength but is reminding us that He is always present and close to help us. Isaiah continues, “Here is your God… He comes to save you.”
In the second reading, St. James admonishes us not to show any partiality to persons based on their dress, their wealth, or their position in society. He is reminding us how God looks at each of us—without partiality. He is ready to help me, heal me, strengthen me and guide me if I just open my heart to Him. I can always review the many gifts in my life that have come from God and say, “He has done all things well!”