Wednesday, September 28, 2016

October 2, 2016 - The Good Servant

The Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

Reading I:  Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4
Response: Psalm 95
Reading II: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Gospel: Luke: 17: 5-10

These days when I hear the news with all the violence and controversy, I turn to the Lord and tell him that he is the only one who can solve our problems today. We hear in the first reading a similar plea from Habakkuk. Fr. John Foley, S.J. summarizes the Lord’s response, thus: God is saying, “I understand your sorrow and I will make things better.” However, in today’s world we are used to instant solutions. God asks us to wait and he will makes things better. Father Foley suggests that God may be delaying in order for us to deepen our faith.

In the Gospel, the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. His response is “If you had the faith the size of a mustard seed, you could do whatever it is that you want.” It seems that he is inviting them to work with him to make a better world. However, they need greater faith in Him and faith in themselves to do this. That is what the Lord is also asking of us today.

I recall vividly a visit with a young friend of mine and her family. While we were chatting on the patio, we could see her husband preparing a portion of their backyard to be a vegetable garden. He was busily raking up the soil. Beside him was their son who was about three years old. He was imitating the father with his own toy rake. It was such a touching scene!

Although the boy probably got in the way sometimes and was able to do little to really help, his dad let him attempt his little part. Of course, the little boy was happy to be working alongside his dad and very proud that he could “help” his father.

This scene reminds me of how our Father allows us to do our little part in making our world better for ourselves and others. In fact, he wants us to do our part. He doesn’t expect perfection from us. However, he knows it will make us happy.

We see this regularly when we hear the reactions of youth who volunteer to help others in special projects. We hear the sense of fulfillment expressed by older people who give of themselves to help others. We hear of the healing after loss which is brought about by those who choose to improve the life of others. Yes, the Lord knows what is best for us, even when we do not understand.

Lord, help us to place our trust in you.  Help us to give over our concerns to you.  Give us your peace!  Amen.


  1. I certainly, very emphatically, agree with your reference to the current situation, with "all the violence and controversy", Sister.
    Of course, we know that the media sometimes tends to concentrate on evil rather than good, possibly because it is more unusual and exciting; but the rising crime rates, unfortunate political matters, etc. are extremely disturbing. Your observations about the facts that the Lord is the only One who can solve the problems,
    and that there is probably a good reason for delay, are really encouraging. It is very obvious, however, that much more prayer, especially to the Holy Spirit, is urgently needed for our country and its leaders.

    Various types of public signs, offering suggestions (sometimes almost commands) about voting, etc., seem to be appearing almost everywhere. I sometimes wish that they would simply proclaim,
    "Pray, America! Pray!". Of course, that would be out of the question these days, but we can hope that the good citizens of
    our country will continue to send petitions to almighty God. What can we do to encourage them? Well, the words of the psalmist are helpful:

    "Come, let us bow down in worship;
    let us kneel before the LORD
    who made us.
    For he is our God,
    and we are the people he shepherds,
    the flock he guides.
    Psalm 95, 6-7

    Prayer to the Holy Spirit

    "Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
    Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
    Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
    Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
    Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy."

    St. Augustine

  2. Many gospels of the past several weeks spoke to the high cost and risk of discipleship. Surely the disciples discussed among themselves the stories that Jesus shared, the messages contained therein, and how following Jesus would impact their lives. Thus, it seems reasonable that they would ask for an increase in faith to have the courage to face the challenges and the strength to remain faithful to their calling.
    It is a bit puzzling to me that Jesus suggests the apostles lack even minimum faith. I often pray for healing of my unbelief; which, I think is a twist on the same request of the disciples.
    Maybe the increase in faith we desire develops as we journey with Jesus along our daily path. Perhaps mustard seed sized faith grows as we perform our ordinary activities and practice fidelity to the Lord.