Oct. 6, 2019 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Hab 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Tm 1:6-8,13-14; Lk 17:5-10)
Speaking to his apostles in this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus asks them to reflect again on the proper relationship between master and servant. It may seem odd that those who are closest to Jesus should be treated as servants while those who are wary of Jesus should be taught as sons; but Luke is interested in all those who will follow Jesus without benefit of having been Jewish insiders. Having been servants of God outside of the covenant of Israel, they can be transformed into children of God; the new Israel after Jesus’ work of redemption is done. The good teacher doesn’t require more of his students than they are able to give, and so Jesus schools the servants of God to be good servants and does not expect them to act like children of the household until they have received their inheritance. That idea of not yet being prepared may well account for the phrase “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed…” At the time Jesus speaks to them, the disciples aren’t ready to exercise their faith.
We do not have to gain faith on our own. The Holy Spirit will be with us, both helping us exercise our faith and helping us increase it. Faith isn’t a feeling. We can act in faith regardless of our feelings. It is nice to have strong sensations of faith, but they aren’t necessary for action. At times, we might be open and excited, because we have seen the Lord work wonders in the past and trust that he will do so again. By expressing gratitude every day, we can all begin to see evidence of God’s love being made manifest in our lives.