See And Believe
“You can see and still you do not believe.” (Jn 6:36) …“Whoever sees the son and believes in him shall have the eternal life.” (Jn 6:40) In this sixth chapter of the Gospel of John the Bread of Life is revealed, and these two verses challenge us to a Eucharistic Faith.
Jesus Christ, the ‘Un-Knowable I-Am’, has become the Word-Made-Flesh. The Bread-Sent-From-Heaven has made himself known to us. Because of sin, we have eyes but do not see; ears but do not hear; thirst but do not drink; and hunger but do not eat.
To See and Believe, this is Christ’s call. To “See” Jesus is to hear his Word; to encounter his Love; to taste the Bread of Life. To “Believe” in Jesus is to choose to follow Him –to live in his Truth.
Jesus made himself known to Israel through many acts of love: signs and wonders; the gift of his Flesh and Blood; and his Crucifixion. Yet most did not See or Believe. He continues still to make himself known -to all who have eyes to See and ears to Hear; who Hunger for the Bread of Life and Thirst for the Living Water; who are willing to Drink of the Cup of His Blood.
Before we can choose Jesus, before we can exercise Faith, we must first encounter him as Truth. As it is God’s Will that all Man be saved –that all come to Know and Love him (Jn6:39)- we have to assume that he must Reveal himself to every soul, for he is as Just as he is Loving. However, it would be a sin of presumption to assume that this revelation will happen outside of our participation.
Free-will cannot exist without personal responsibility –we must have a Choice, and we must have the freedom to Accept or Reject it. Neither can Faith exist without Works, nor Love without Deeds. And so it is that Truth is only found with Hunger and Thirst. It is for us to Ask, Seek and Knock (Mt 7:7), for “The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you.” (James 4:8). We cannot expect to See God if we are not looking for him. But if we do so with all our heart, he promises to show himself to us (Deut 4:29).
That the Un-Knowable God will make himself Known is Truth. It is the Word of God, witnessed and testified to throughout the ages. He is ever waiting for us to See and Believe –through Prayer, through his Word, and in the Eucharist- waiting to be encountered, waiting to be loved.
God is waiting, but it is an active waiting. As Father of all Prodigal Sons, he is not just waiting for us to discover our true Sonship, but he is eternally sending forth his Spirit to woo us -as he unleashes the Hound of Heaven, to plant in our heart, pangs of hunger for Home; as he sends the Good Shepherd to seek out his Lost Love.
If we but call out to him, he will find us in our darkness. In truth, he is already present -just waiting for us to recognize our need for him. For it is only in our Need that we recognize his Face. It is only in our Hunger and Thirst that we have cause to Believe in who can assuage. In a cosmic act of Mercy, God has allowed himself to suffer need –to have to wait for us to choose his Burning Love.
Most of us, before giving ourselves over to a life of Faith, must first discover our miserable-ness, our desperate need, our depravity of Love. It is this Humble Knowing which loosens the scales of sin from our eyes and allows us to “See” our Lord. In standing exposed before him, seeing that our Nakedness does not cause his Love to flinch, we are freed to love him whose Love has found us -we see and believe.When we see Jesus as Love, then we believe in the Source Of All Love, and this Knowing Encounter impels us to Praise our God of Love. Such is our Eucharistic Faith. Eucharist means Thanksgiving or Gratitude. So it is that in receiving the Love of Jesus, we find the Bread of Life –we consume him in order to be consumed by him; we embrace him to become Lost in his Mercy; we find Eternal Life.