27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
October 6, 2013 - St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Jesus can say to the Mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea and it would obey.
If we stood in front of church and said to the oaks, be uprooted and planted in the sea, nothing would happen.
Jesus can say to the storm, be still, and it would obey.
If we said to the hurricane, be still, nothing would happen.
Jesus can turn water into wine. If we tried to turn water into wine, we would end up drinking water.
If we convince ourselves that something is not going to work or is impossible, then we are bound to make our thinking a reality.
Jesus is giving us an example of what we would be capable of doing if we had just a small amount of faith.
He is not suggesting that we go around uprooting trees or moving mountains or walking on water.
He is suggesting that faith is a precious treasure.
St Paul, in the second reading, reminds us that it is something to be guarded, to be looked after, to be tended to.
He tells us that the Holy Spirit is with us to help us.
Help us with what? Help us through the difficulties of life.
Habakkuk, in the first reading, describes our lives:
distraction, violence, strife, discord are all before me.
Like Habakkuk, we all have our own hardships.
Because of these, we occasionally experience a lack of faith.
We sound just like Habakkuk:
“How long, O Lord. I cry for help but you do not listen. “
Back comes the answer, “Wait. The just one, because of his faith, shall live.”
The disciples of Jesus are interested in faith.
But they are interested in quantity. They want more faith.
Increase the amount of faith that we have.
But Jesus is interested in quality. And he uses a parable to describe quality of faith. It is not a pleasant story.
Image you are a servant at work all day. And at sundown you must come home and continue to work because you are required to cook and then serve your master's dinner.
To make matters worse, the master doesn't show any appreciation. Why? Because the work is required. It’s in the servant’s job description. It’s expected.
Does Jesus tell the story because he approves of this treatment?
Of course he doesn't approve. Then why does he tell the story?
In all of its ugliness, the story is a real slice of life. In Jesus' time, some people were treated exactly that way, in our time too.
We all have circumstances in our lives that we don't want, that we would have never chosen for ourselves. They are simply a given. We would escape them or change them if we could.
But in some cases that is not possible. So the only realistic option is to deal with life as it is, not as we wish it were or think it should be.
Life can be unfair, sometimes even cruel. The answer of faith is to accept life as it really is. Faith the size of a mustard seed would enable us to accept the realities of life.
Faith the size of a mustard seed would enable us to believe with all our hearts that every small act of kindness can transform the most horrible circumstances into blessings.
Faith the size of a mustard seed would enable us to understand that even the smallest acts of goodness can change our world, at least our small corner of the world.
The Lord expects something from each of us. This is our call to discipleship, to do what the Lord asks, what the Lord commands.
Are we doing what the Lord asks of us? Do we have faith that that the Lord walks with us through the trying times of life.
Pope Benedict reminds us that faith is not something we have produced ourselves, but something we, again and again, receive from an outside source, the Lord himself.
Doing what the Lord commands increases our faith so that we have the courage, the strength, the grace to get through the difficult times.
Those in our midst who have gone through though times know that sometimes it seems easier to say to the Mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea.