Gospel Reflection:  Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

TWENTY- SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

OCTOBER 2, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The word of the Lord remains forever.

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The holy Gospel according to Saint 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.’”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

I am sure that the apostles who asked Jesus to: Increase our faith had no idea that the Lord would responded in the way that He did: 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.  What a dramatic description of the power of faith expressed by Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel.  Most, if not all of us, on hearing this, would feel so inadequate in faith.

When preaching about faith, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem acknowledged the limited nature of a disciple’s faith, but he also taught the Gospel-rooted way of growing in faith: Even if you think you are faithful, you have not yet attained the perfection of faith.  You must also say: ‘Lord, increase our faith!’  For you have hardly anything of your own, but must receive much from him …. Who does what is beyond human power.

While it is self-evident that we are far from perfect faith, many struggle with having faith even the size of a mustard seed.  And on top of it all, it is also clear that we cannot increase our faith on our own.  Today Saint Luke and Saint Cyril join in their efforts to direct our attention to the one and only ONE who can increase the gift of faith within us – we must receive much from him …. Who does what is beyond human power.

Faith is a gift from GodIn Baptism, we receive the graces of Faith, Hope and Love.  Left to its own, humanity would remain in doubt and despair.  Without God, humanity collapses into animalistic self-preservation unable to conger up enough confidence to be placed in any one, let alone an intangible God.  For faith to be a power within us, God must first plant it within us.

So, if God is the only source of true and perfect faith, then are the Baptized without responsibility in the growth of faith?  Not at all!  Both today’s Gospel and Saint Cyril lay out the process of growth into perfect faith: we must be persistent in prayer and consistent in perseverance.  God will provide an increase in faith, while in turn we keep asking for it and keep persevering in the little we have.

When we come to an obstacle in faith, whether in sickness or dire need, we are not to give up, but we are to persist in trusting while God provides additional reasons to trust.  Faith is an incredible divine-human dance: God trusts us, and in turn we learn to trust GodGod trusts that with His grace we can imitate His Son in the ways of self-sacrificing love.  In turn, by our persistence in prayer and our consistence in the little faith that we have, we learn that God is trustworthy and we grow in faith!

The parable offered in today’s Gospel makes little sense outside the arena of faith.  The servant is to do what is expected: believe and serve in the name of the Lord, and God will do the rest!  God knows how frail and weak we are.  In His justice, God is ever willing to come to our aid, but on our part we must persevere with whatever little faith we have – for with God all things are possible!

Again, the fundamental message of the Gospel is for every person to turn his/her whole heart and soul over to Christ.  The hidden truth of the Gospel is that when we surrender to Christ, we learn, in real and tangible ways, that Christ is trustworthy – He will provide what is needed.  Whatever little faith we have, when used, is enough, because God will provide – with God all things are possible!

 

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our Web Site for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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