In today’s Gospel reading, when the crowd has spent some time looking for Jesus after He multiplied the loaves and the fish and fed thousands, one of the things that they ask Him is, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus replies, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
For me, that is an answer that raises even more questions. Does Jesus mean that all we need do is believe, and that’s it? Isn’t there something else that we need to do? As I have been searching for an answer, I’ve been led to reflect on what it means to believe in Jesus.
To believe in Jesus leads to belief in many things: That God has a plan of salvation; That God loves us more than we can imagine; That the Son of God sacrificed Himself for the forgiveness of our sins, and that He rose from the dead to give us the promise of everlasting life. To believe in Jesus means much more than simple belief in a Supreme Being. To believe in Jesus is to believe in love for us!
And if we can truly accept that love, we are compelled to respond. And the way we respond is to love each other and love the world. And so, like the apostles whose efforts about which we are hearing all through this Easter season, like Stephen, about whom we hear today, like all the saints, known and unknown who have gone before us, we are called to go out into the world, filled with the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, and proclaim the Good News in all that we say and do.
God gives us what we need to do the works we are called to do. May we believe in the One He sent, and give in return the gift of love given to us.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P., is the local superior at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.