Saturday, April 27, 2019
Saturday of the Octave of Easter
But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. Mark 16:14
Why did the Apostles fail to believe Jesus had risen from the dead? They had seen so many amazing miracles first hand from Jesus. They lived with Him day in and day out for three years. They heard Him preach and teach with perfect authority and grace. And now, after He rose from the dead, their hearts were hardened and they did not immediately believe. Jesus had to appear to them and offer this proof to their own eyes.
This struggle that the Apostles went through is one that is all too common. It’s the struggle of a hardness of heart. They wanted to believe, but they couldn’t let themselves freely embrace the Resurrection with true faith until they had some proof. Little did they know that all the proof they needed was already within them.
So often we are invited by Jesus to have faith and believe in Him and to accept many things as a matter of faith. The gift of faith is like a small flame within our hearts that we carelessly expose to the winds. This carelessness allows the flame of faith to be extinguished before it can grow.
The goal of our Christian walk is to let that flame of faith become the blazing fire that God wants. And it’s possible! It’s entirely possible to let that flame become so all-consuming that nothing can put it out. Are you willing to do what you need to so as to let that flame glow brightly? And how do we do this?
The path to this blazing fire of faith within has to do with the way we handle that spark which is already there. We have to care for and nurture that small flame. We have to treat the beginnings of our faith with great care. We must guard it and feed it so that it grows. This is done, in part, by avoiding carelessness in our life of prayer.
Prayer is the key to letting God grow within. He is there, speaking to us and calling us to believe. Every time we doubt, or harden our heart, we expose that tiny flame to the elements. But every time we intensely focus upon that flame, we enable it to grow and take hold. Praying, listening, seeking, loving and believing are the ways to the faith God wants to bestow upon us. And if the Apostles would have just let that gift of faith, planted deep within, grow by a softening of their hearts, they would have quickly and easily believed that Jesus was alive without having a need to see Him with their own eyes.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that we do not see the Resurrected Christ in a physical way, but we do have the same ability as the Apostles to know and love Him. What are you doing every day to let this love and knowledge of Christ grow? What are you doing in your own faith life to let this flame become a blazing and all-consuming fire? Recommit yourself this day to prayer, and watch your faith in Christ grow brightly!
Lord, I love You and I believe in You. Help me to fan the flame of faith planted in my heart into a blazing and all-consuming fire. Help me to know and love You so that this knowledge and love transform me. Purify my soul by this fire and free me from any hardness of heart. Jesus, I trust in You.