Reflections

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2019

Lord, Increase Our Faith
1. Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed
2. Faith of the Servant
Introduction
1. Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed
Beautiful statements about our faith may impress others and ourselves for a moment, but they do not change us. Inspiration to change comes from living witnesses, people who inspire us by the way they live. Often the disciples did not even understand Jesus, but they saw what he did, and how he lived. They admired him and so they asked, “Lord, make our faith grow!” People consider us practicing Christians, but the heart of the matter is whether we are believers, people of faith, close to our Lord, who live as we believe. Let us also ask: Lord, make our faith grow!

2. Faithful Servants
Who are we before God? This is the question asked of us today. We are just ordinary servants, who do what they have to do and do so in a spirit of faith, which is God’s great gift to us. But if we have faith, God can do much with us. Even our stammering prayers, our clumsy attempts to love people and God, our efforts to make this world a bit more human and a bit more the way God wants it, are no more than things we are supposed to do and which the Lord expects us to do. We ask Jesus in this Eucharist that we may be good servants of God and people, and that with his help we may do better what we have to do.

First Reading: The Believer Will Live
God’s people have to keep trusting in their trials, for their faith will save them.

1 Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him. R.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides. R.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.” R.

Second Reading: Bear Witness to Your Faith
We must keep the faith God has given us, witness to it, and let it grow.

2 Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

Alleluia: 1 Peter 1:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of the Lord remains forever.
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: If Only You Had Faith!
Jesus wants his disciples to have absolute faith in God. And yet, even a life full of faith does not entitle us to privileges, for faith is a gift from God.

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

Commentary
One day a group of elderly Jewish women were talking about the catastrophes and evils of the world and, after a long litany of problems and conflicts, one of them exclaimed: “It makes you wonder who is in charge.” Facing evil and sorrow in the world always raises such questions. It is the same question that the prophet poses in the first reading and a question we often ask ourselves: “Why does God allow such bad things to happen in the world? Is so much pain God’s will?”
On the other hand, and particularly in this individualistic society, we consider things are acquired through our own merit and actions. Sometimes people think they can even avoid death forever by taking the necessary precautions, exercising, and eating healthy.
In both cases—whether we give God full responsibility for everything that happens or consider that we are in complete control—we are denying true faith. Faith asks for great trust, without fears or anxiety.
Faith demands that we allow God to be God, while working to turn this world into what He desires. That is, we are asked to have attitudes and actions in accordance with the call we received. It means working as if everything depended on us and praying although we know perfectly well that everything depends on God. We cannot blame God for things that are the fault of people’s actions or their lack of action, nor can we think that by our own efforts we will turn things around. We need to work and trust, often not seeing the final result, but grounding ourselves firmly in God’s promises.
The words of Jesus, which state that once we have done everything in our power, we must say “we are but worthless servants,” are not trying to say Christians should have low self-esteem, but to recognize that all control and grace come from God. We act in faith according to the promise and we know that faith can move mountains.

Blessing
The Eucharist has been an occasion
to strengthen our faith in the Lord’s presence.
It is perhaps good that at times
our faith is tried and tested
through difficulties and questions,
so as not to become complacent.
May such occasions be for us
opportunities to place all our trust
in the love and concern of God.
May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Go in peace and take the Lord with you
in all you do. R/ Thanks be to God.

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