In today’s (Jan. 12, 2012) readings, we can see two different relationships with the Lord. In the first reading, the Israelites battles against their enemy, the Philistines (who David will defeat in the future). When the Israelites lose the battle, they decide that they lost because God was not with them in battle. Their solution is to take the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them. For them the Ark of the Covenant is the presence of God in this world. Surely they will not be defeated with the Ark?
But they are! Why? I think that while they belief of God’s presence in the Ark was tied to their faith they weren’t really acting “in faith”. The Ark of the Covenant contained the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. The Ark is a sure sign of God’s presence among us but it is not a “magic” solution to ensure victory. It would be like a person wearing a Cross or carrying the Eucharist with them always (not allowed) thinking that nothing bad could ever happen to them just because they are wearing the Cross or carrying the Eucharist.
In the gospel reading, the leper comes to Jesus saying, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” The leper truly believes that Jesus has the power to heal him. There is no doubt. But the leper also trusts in what “Jesus wishes.” He comes to Jesus in faith, trusting that Jesus will provide.
Do we come to Jesus seeking “magic” fixes to our problems or do we come to Jesus in faith, asking Him to fix our problems but ultimately trusting in whatever His will is, knowing that no matter what happens Jesus walks with us?