I was talking with a Daughter this afternoon about faith, and how, because we are weak, faith ebbs and flows. She takes faith as seriously as most of us take Death Cancer. She is one of the most profoundly reflective people I know...maybe the most reflective. And only 17. She doesn't like the ebbing parts. Anyway, sometimes God is close, sometimes far away. Faith comes and goes. It's easy; then it's hard. I was specifically comparing faith in Jesus when he was running around Jerusalem, smelling like he hasn't bathed since He left Nazareth, knocking over tables and raising Lazarus from the dead; and faith in Jesus in the smallest daily miracle of Bread & Wine.
Who among us Catholic Morons doesn't struggle with that? OK, maybe you don't. Maybe I envy you, but then again, maybe you aren't thinking about it hard enough to doubt. Am I succumbing to the Human Ailment, Pride? Am I digressing?
What was the topic? Oh yeah, the Body & Blood, that's a tough one, and there are so many Christians who dispense with that problem, it's just a symbol, I don't wanna be, you know...superstitious, unEnlightened. A Catholic Moron. I used to think, yeah, the B&B shtick, well who can say, but if I'd been around in 30 AD, seen Jesus do the miracles, I'd believe, just like Thomas, my kind of guy. Get those fingers in those holes, yep! OK I believe, no problem! Thanks, Jesus...I didn't want to look like a moron. You made it easy. Believing the Bread & Wine miracle, nuh-uh podna, that's going too far. But if I'd been there back then, sure I'd've believed. Faith was easier then. Seein' was believin'...or was it?
Guess what, people looked right at Jesus all the time & didn't have faith. Jesus heals a blind man right under the noses of the Pharisees...right? Oh no, the blind guy was faking it. That jerk. Pretending his whole life to be blind just to confect this stunt with Jeezus. Sitting around the pool for years, "oh, woe is me." And his parents, too, they were in on it. The worst scum; conniving liars. Don't deserve to come to synagogue. Fess up, liars, or you're anathema. Or imagine Thomas without faith: yeah, I stuck my fingers in, all it proves is He didn't really die, just pretended to....I'm so disillusioned. Jesus let me down.
Think of the Pharisees, their whole life was study and faith, they knew, knew, God could not have a body...it's blasphemous. Disgusting even. God's up there, we're down here, an infinite distance between perfection and sin. The God-man notion, we know better than that, and everyone else should know better, too. Look at Jesus...he ain't even clean! Dat ain't God. Going crazy when Jesus does the presumably easy thing, telling the paralytic, "your sins are forgiven," then asks, "which is easier?" and then does the presumably hard thing, telling the paralytic to get up and walk. Which he does. The apoplexy! The pride!
The hearts of stone....Ezekiel warned you! So don't kid yourself, you could've seen it all, every miracle, and still not believed. We like to say we can see when we are blind...and so our sin remains. Yeah, I know that line, but I really can see, no sin here. I ain't blind; I ain't no Pharisee....see?
I reflect on the paralytic story: which is easier? In the case of the paralytic, the hard thing was to be able to forgive sin....getting him to walk was no big deal, relatively speaking, but the truth about the two things was not obvious. Indeed the truth was the opposite of one's first impression. And this couplet: which is harder/which is easier that Jesus posited, is useful for comparing other aspects of faith.
So at every Mass I tend to ask myself, which is easier: for God to make Himself physically, truly present as a human being in 30AD, or for Him to make Himself physically, truly present today under the appearance of Bread & Wine?
Ehhhh....ummmm....as soon as I find a Pharisee, I'll ask him.