Scripture Reflection - October 2, 2016

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Luke 17:5-10 Mustard Seed Faith Is Enough


Dorothy Day, who was on Pope Francis’ short list of exemplary Americans in his address before the U.S. Congress, is on the path to officially being recognized by the Church as a saint.  She was the founder of The Catholic Worker, homes for street people and places of hospitality where meals are shared with the hungry and lonely.  She would often overhear visitors to The Catholic Worker saying of her, “She is a saint.” She would then turn to them and respond, “You only say that I am a saint to convince yourself that you are different from me, that you are not able to do the things I do. I am not different from you. You could do what I do.”

In today’s gospel, the disciples came to Jesus, and they said, “Increase our faith” (v.5), and we will work wonders, implying that their faith at the moment was so small they could not do the acts Jesus required of them. Jesus in response to their request neither promises nor gives them any more faith. He tells them, “Start with the little you have and you will accomplish all you want.”

Jesus exposed in them, as he unmasks in us, one of the ways we use to escape our responsibilities as a committed Christian or what Pope Francis calls a missionary disciple. We can’t pray because we don’t have enough faith; we can’t be charitable and reach out to the poor because we are too busy; we can’t be advocates for justice and work for social change because we feel overwhelmed and powerless; we cannot forgive because we are too hurt and so on.

Jesus objects “Don’t speak like that, work with what you have. Even if your faith is like the tiniest of seeds—a mustard seed—you will work wonders.”

Jesus message is clear to us today—mustard seed faith is enough. You do not need any more faith than you have. Just use the faith you have, and it will suffice to face your current challenge!

Sister Terry Rickard, O.P.

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