Increase Our Faith!

Oct 1, 2019

Gospel Reflection, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

 

Increase Our Faith!

What the Apostles ask Jesus in our gospel today is impressive.  “Increase our faith!”  They do not ask that the people should say nice things about them.  They do not ask that they should succeed by human standards.  Rather, they ask just one thing, “Increase our faith!”

 They are asking for the things that is really the most important: a profound and solid faith, an unshakable trust in God.  This means building all of their hope on God holding everything in his hands, even when there is great trouble and when a strong contrary wind is blowing in your face. 

The saints come to mind when I think of such a strong faith.  They provide a firm handhold for others and give them confidence.  Yet, what do we imagine when we talk about a strong faith?  Jesus’ reply gives us food for thought: “If you had 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.”  This is something quite impossible indeed, but even if your trust is as small as a mustard seed it is nonetheless strong and effective when it means trusting in God and not just in your own strength. 

We may think that we will just not be able to manage it, but we can trust that God can help us nevertheless and that the Almighty will do things the way he chooses.  Jesus expounds upon this in another parable.  The servant has to deal with all of his tasks and only then can he rest.  He is not deserving of any particular thanks if he has only performed his duty and done what he should.  Do your part and God will do his part.  Saint Ignatius of Loyola put it like this, “Act as if everything depended on you, and pray as if everything depended on God.”  Having faith does not mean taking it easy and letting everything take its course.  We must do what we can, but God will grant what is decisive.  Dear God, please strengthen our trust in that!

 Father Tony