October 6th 2019 27th Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle C)
The tie in between today’s readings: Faith moves through actions
Psalm 95:1-9, Habakkuk 1:2-3;2:2-4, 2 Timothy 1:6-8;13-14,Luke 17:5-10
Our reading in Psalm 95 is a good beginning in examining our topic of faith for today. It starts off with the Almighty’s credentials which prove that He is worthy of our trust. Then there are two groups of people standing in front of Him: the humble sheep of His pasture in verses 6-7 that follow Him and the proud hard hearted in verses 8-9 which test Him. Now, with that stage set, we move onto faith’s action phase of leading us through life’s challenges. Whether it is looking for a job, working through marriage conflicts, or even your salvation, it is faith that pushes you forward toward your goal. The first chapter in our reading, Habakkuk brings the problems of sin and violence in his society before God. The Lord, in chapter 2, answers the prophet with the assurance that He will act in His time. The door of faith opens for the prophet and the populace as they react to the Lord’s message. The future depends on their decisions. Verse 4 concludes by contrasting the puffed up soul of the proud against the living faith of the righteous. It’s important to note this because faith is a journey into the unknown and how you walk it makes all the difference.
The proud walk into the unknown with a plan…their plan. They see their end from the beginning. They chart out their steps to success: college, career, family, retirement, etc. They go forward on the idea that God will rubber stamp all that they ask because He loves them and they love themselves. The Lord is no man’s servant. When frustration happens, then God is disappointing to them. They lose their “faith” during the hard times because it’s not what they signed up for. The proud presume. Presumption demands that God follows you. Presumption places your expectations for the Lord to accomplish. Presumption is not faith. God warns against it and invites you to follow Him in true faith.
The faithful follow God into the unknown. Their plans are adaptable to the Lord’s leading and they go toward tomorrow with a confident knowing. We can see elements in a walk of faith in our reading in 2 Timothy 1:6-14, with young Timothy as he pastors the church at Ephesus. In these verses, the Apostle Paul encourages his protégé to stay the course. He reminds Timothy that God gives a person the ability to perform the tasks He assigns. His Holy Spirit will give him strength and courage tempered with love. Faith requires suffering, but he’s not alone. God will be with him. He gave His only Son to save him. The hard part is over. He won’t drop him now. Paul emboldens him to be strong in the Lord and stay true to the truth.
God’s calling on a person is intimidating. It’s no wondering that in today’s gospel, in Luke 17:5-10, the apostles ask for an increase to their faith. Jesus tells them, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.” The presumptuous will take this to mean that faith is a power to command. If you have enough faith, (in what, I’m not sure of here…God or yourself?) then you can accomplish anything. This interpretation can’t be right. Instead, Jesus is telling the apostles that it’s the object of your faith that’s important not the quantity. A small mustard seed faith in a big God can do impossible things. The key is that faith is a servant’s privilege. His power works through your faith to accomplish His will. The more you step out in faith, the more you’ll see what the Almighty can do, and the more your faith will grow. Faith makes us marvel and give God the glory. No thanks are due you. No accolades to bestow. You’re just doing your job. However, there is a, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” in your future from the King of the universe. What can beat that?