instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, December 19, 2005

For the Man who has everything

St. Luke recorded a broad hint Jesus dropped about what He'd like for Christmas:
"But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
And since Christmas is a time to express the Christian faith in painfully lame trendy terms, let me add that Jesus is a committed re-gifter: He gives your faith right back to you, adorning graces both asked for and unexpected.

It's interesting to look at the results of a search for the word "faith" in the Gospels. Here's what I got from the Douay-Rheims Bible:
6:30 And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?
8:10 And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel.
8:26 And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.
9:2 And behold they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.
9:22 But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
9:29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it done unto you.
14:31 And immediately Jesus stretching forth his hand took hold of him, and said to him: O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?
15:28 Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.
16:8 And Jesus knowing it, said: Why do you think within yourselves, O ye of little faith, for that you have no bread?
17:19 Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
21:21 And Jesus answering, said to them: Amen, I say to you, if you shall have faith, and stagger not, not only this of the fig tree shall you do, but also if you shall say to this mountain, Take up and cast thyself into the sea, it shall be done.
23:23 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone.

2:5 And when Jesus had seen their faith, he saith to the sick of the palsy: Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.
4:40 And he said to them: Why are you fearful? have you not faith yet? And they feared exceedingly: and they said one to another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey him?
5:34 And he said to her: Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole: go in peace, and be thou whole of thy disease.
10:52 And Jesus saith to him: Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him in the way.
11:22 And Jesus answering, saith to them: Have the faith of God.

5:20 Whose faith when he saw, he said: Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
7:9 Which Jesus hearing, marvelled: and turning about to the multitude that followed him, he said: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith, not even in Israel.
7:50 And he said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.
8:25 And he said to them: Where is your faith? Who being afraid, wondered, saying one to another: Who is this, (think you), that he commandeth both the winds and the sea, and they obey him?
8:48 But he said to her: Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go thy way in peace.
12:28 Now if God clothe in this manner the grass that is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more you, O ye of little faith?
17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith.
17:6 And the Lord said: If you had faith like to a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this mulberry tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou transplanted into the sea: and it would obey you.
17:19 And he said to him: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.
18:8 I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?
18:42 And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole.
22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.
A few half-baked observations:
  • In almost every instance, it is Jesus who is speaking of faith. Each synoptic refers once to the faith of the men who lowered the paralytic through the roof (Mt. 9:2, Mk 2.5, Lk. 5:20), and the Apostles do ask that their faith be increased (Lk 17:5). Otherwise, though, it is Jesus who brings up the subject.
  • When He does bring up the subject of faith, it is generally in one of two contexts: "O ye of little faith," usually directed at the men who have given up all they have to follow Him; and "Thy faith hath made thee whole," usually spoken to someone in extremis who has come to Him in a last ditch attempt at being healed. There's something very "God's ways are not man's ways" about great faith being linked to great hope, not great expectations.
  • The absence of any verses from John is surprising, but seems to be an artifact of the translation. For example, the NIV returns seven hits for "faith" in that Gospel, all but one variants of people who "put their faith in" Jesus. The Douay-Rheims seems to prefer "believed in." This may be some sort of hidden indicator (the KJV is also stingier with the word "faith" than the NIV), but if so I have no idea of what.