C Cycle – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 19
Faith what is it, what do we expect from it and how do we acquire it? We all have faith but is the faith we have the kind of faith the apostles were wondering about as they posed the question – “how do we increase our faith.” Was the response of Jesus direct enough to give them a clear understanding or how to grow in faith or was it lacking in specifics leaving them still feeling they did not have enough to accomplish the things required of discipleship?
Why did they ask the question at that moment? What was it that prompted their desire to increase their faith? At the heart of their question ls the knowledge they did have faith in Him but not enough to do the things He did and far greater. Those words “do the things I did and far greater is the task of every disciple, them and us. Do we have enough faith to accomplish the things required of us each week as we profess – “I believe.”?
They, like us, have just heard the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. They like us have just heard the parable of the unjust steward as he attempts to gain favor with others so he can survive his master’s wrath. Instead of accepting his fate, he is attempting to control it by his own actions. Go beyond the words of this gospel and listen to the dialogue with your hearts and you will see they do know and understand they have faith. At the same time, they are aware it is not the same kind seen in the relationship of Jesus with his Father – Father you always hear me.
They are beginning to understand more is required of them and that is exactly why this dialogue is recorded in the scriptures for us. We must know, must sense, more is required of us than what we are giving God at this moment in our lives. Jesus himself told us, “To him who has much, more will be required” (Lk. 12:48). For us to accomplish the task of building the kingdom of God requires each of us to trust God will accomplish great things through us who believe.
So, the question we must reflect upon in our hearts is simple, do we, you and I, understand the mission is ours to bring the good news of salvation to others? How much faith do you have and is your faith enough to respond to the call on your life to allow God to touch your heart and show you all that is possible if you believe.
Think about the faith you have for a moment. We have faith enough to plan vacations one year in advance as we book that beach house we love so much. We book cruises well in advance of the departure date and we plan and book venues for anniversary and weddings parties long before they take place. But do we have faith enough to walk on water or pray for something that seems impossible or improbable in its outcome, like praying for cancer to disappear, or a marriage to be rebuilt, or pray for something that we know is totally and completely our of our control to accomplish.
Does our faith move us beyond ourselves to understand each of us is called to be a disciple moving us to do more than just attend mass or give financially to the parish? This weekend in particular in this parish you will find hundreds of volunteers on the grounds serving you and your family during the fall festival. Simple gifts but gifts building community none the less.
Does our faith move us to pray “if it is your will,” expressing a view of uncertainty as we pray or is our prayer expressed with complete confidence in God to respond because we know His will desires to give us all that is good? Does our faith in God remain positive even as the circumstances surrounding us now are nothing short of driving us to despair?
This dialogue between Jesus and his disciples is not about them and Jesus it is about us and how we are living our belief “salvation comes from Christ and Christ alone.” Do we believe God sent his only son, so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life or are we still trying to earn salvation?
It is interesting Jesus does not elaborate on faith or how to acquire it but simply tells us what we can accomplish if we have just a little faith in God. But instead of expounding on how to grow in faith Jesus tells us a story of who we are and that is a servant in the kingdom of God. Jesus tells us a servant does not look at the reward of his service but instead should only expect to continue to serve.
That my brothers and sisters is the difference between discipleship and membership.
We are called to be more than just members of a parish. We have been entrusted the kingdom of God. We, you and I, have been given gifts, some simple and humble, others complex and varied but all of them working together building the kingdom of God. It is a reality in most parishes a very small minority of its members understand that call to serve while the vast majority are just members. Members do not even attempt to ask the question about how to increase their faith or is what they are doing accomplishing the mission of building up the community.
Each of us can do more than we are doing. What is required for us to satisfy the demands of our faith, to satisfy our call to be servants and to grow in faith is an absolute trust in the promises of God.
It takes and absolute desire to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, the exact representation of the Father’s being through a life of daily prayer and reading of the scriptures. It takes and absolute trust in the work of the Holy Spirit to guide us to holiness and to understand how we are gifted to add to the building of the kingdom of God.
It takes a desire to stop striving for what we believe God wants from us and following the path God has prepared for us.