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Sunday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

October 5, 2019

Respect Life Sunday 

Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4

Psalm 95

Second Letter to Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

Luke 17:5-10

There is a story about a man who fell off a mountain.  Half way down he grabbed a branch of a tree and hung on.  So, there he was dangling on the branch, unable to pull himself up yet knowing that by letting go of the branch he would fall to his death.  Suddenly the man has an idea.  He looks up to heaven and shouts, “Is anyone up there?”  A voice comes down from heaven, “Yes, I am here.  I am the Lord.  Do you believe in me?”  The man shouts back, “Yes, I believe in you.  I really believe.  Please help me.”  The Lord then says, “All right!  If you really believe in me you have nothing to fear.  I will save you.  Now let go of the branch.”  The man thinks for a moment and then shouts back, “Is anyone else up there?”

I suspect that not too many of us can place ourselves in the predicament of the man hanging from the tree branch.  But as we laugh at this little story we can recognize  ourselves  in this man.  We believe in God, but when the going gets tough and things do not work out as we expect we take matters into our own hands or look for help elsewhere.  I call it “God in a box.”  We take Him out when we are in need of Him and then put Him back into the box when our life crisis is over until we need Him again.  We all do believe in the power of God, but we are often people of little faith.

Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know Him personally, to understand His truth, and to live in the power of His love.  God expects more from us than we can do by ourselves.  Faith in God is the key for removing obstacles and difficulties which keep us from doing His will.  The question then is do we trust in God’s grace and power to resist temptation and to overcome obstacles in doing His will?

In today’s Gospel the apostles ask Jesus how they can be more faithful.  What they are asking is how they can be more loyal to Christ, and how then can they strengthen their belief in Christ.  Jesus makes it very clear to His closest followers that He demanded loyalty from them.  In recent weeks we have seen the apostles being told they should even put Jesus ahead of their own families.  Their question then was one of asking for help in making that commitment.  Something we too should consider.

With His metaphor of the mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, Jesus tells them that even with a small amount of faith; God will hear them and answer their needs, even if it was something that needed a miracle.  Jesus explains that the apostles do have faith and that with the amount of faith they already have, they can do seemingly impossible things.

My sisters and brothers, we can lament crime, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, senseless violence, and so forth.  But we, as true believers in the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ we understand that faith makes a difference in the way we view our life and the world around us. 

Consider this – all of us deal in faith based issues almost every day of our lives.  All of us have faith in others when we sign an important contract, eat in a restaurant, fly in an airplane, or drop our children off at school or day care.  Why then do we sometimes loose faith in God if we place our faith in everyone else?

Faith, my friends, makes things possible – not easy.  Now, we can let go that tree branch.

Question of the Day:  Will you plant your seed of faith and let it grow and grow and grow?

Prayer:  “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God my strength, in whom I will trust.”  (Psalm 18) 






Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

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