what can faith do?

All 3 readings today speak about faith. ‘Faith’ is a word that is used quite often so we may be familiar with it, but I am not so sure that we fully know what it means in our lives. These readings today opened up, at least for me, a new insight in to what faith really is. So, what is faith really?

The apostles open our Gospel passage today by asking Jesus, “Increase our faith!” Now these are men who have walked with Jesus, who have seen his miracles first-hand, and who have witnessed time and again Jesus life given over to the will of the Father. Obviously they feel like they are still lacking faith. They realized that they couldn’t do life on their own, that they were not in control and that they needed help. In this they show us exactly what faith is; an attitude of trust in the presence of God. FAITH is an attitude of trust in the presence of God.

Jesus responds to the apostles request with a bit of an exaggeration; “Say to this tree be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would listen to you.” Meaning that what looks impossible can become possible with just a small seed of faith. When we live our lives out of this perspective with true trust and true confidence in God we are relying on His power, as St.Paul puts it in our second reading, already at work in us. What I think of when I hear this are the lives of many of the great saints. Just one example is Mother Teresa(now St. Teresa of Calcutta). Leaving her teaching job at a school in Calcutta and moving in to the slums, the worst slums in the world, having nothing; no money, no material resources, no support. What she did have was faith. An attitude of trust. Now we have this great order of the Missionaries of Charity spread throughout the whole world doing the work of God. There are many more examples, and it shows us what God can be accomplish in our lives with just this little seed of faith.

Maybe in your own lives you have seen and experienced what a seed of faith can do. When we entrust our lives to God, when we have confident trust in His power greater things can happen; when we realize that He is in control and we are not.

Lastly, Jesus shares a sobering example and reminds us, “You also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’” This statement may rub us the wrong way, but it really puts things in perspective for us, as Jesus is trying to make a point. As human beings it is almost an automatic reaction for us to assess what is coming to us, what our reward is. This sense of justice can even be seen in children, “That’s not fair”. It’s almost instinct. This isn’t a bad thing, however in the light of the Gospel today, this sense of justice implies that we are still in control, that we still have demands and expectations. In the light of faith Jesus is showing us that to grow in faith we must let go and trust God so that we can live simply in faithful service of Him. All that we have has come from Him.

So today let us repeat the apostles words in our hearts, “Lord increase our faith’, remembering that our lives are not about us, but that our lives are an exercise in trusting God; an exercise in openness to what God will reveal to us, what God will do through us, and what God will invite us to become with just a little seed of faith.

Scripture readings:

Habakkuk 1.2-3,2.2-4

Psalm 95

2 Timothy 1.6-8, 13-14

Luke 17.5-10

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