27th Sunday Ordinary Time
October 2, 2016
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
The Lord answered, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea and it would obey you.”
If the apostles, who witnessed Jesus’ miracles, needed more faith, how much more do we! Think about it for a moment: only in this brief lifetime, during our short stay on earth, is it possible to have faith. The moment we die and see the Lord, it will no longer be possible to have faith, because then we will have seen the truth!
This short lifetime of ours is filled with incredible riches. According to some mystics, even the angels have a holy envy of our situation. How can that be possible? Even the angels do not have the opportunities that we have right now, and faith is the key! As long as we can’t see the reward God wants to give us or the One whom we am serving (who is very rich though he looks poor), everything we do for God in faith has great merit attached to it.
God created everything: he is waiting to make his friends children of God and give us eternal life, with wealth and happiness and the excitement of discovering the rest of creation, and living with the angels-- forever! There’s only one catch: we can’t actually see any of this yet. In fact, Jesus approaches us now seemingly as a poor man, as if in disguise. Many people reject him, thinking he has nothing of value for them, or that he doesn’t even exist!
Jesus disguises himself in the Eucharist; in the poor; in tough situations that seem to have no solution. He is hidden in the joys of life and in “coincidences.” Every decision we make for God, every act of generosity or service, every time we go to confession, every time we do God’s will increases my glory forever because we are doing these things for a God we cannot yet see. All of these opportunities will end at death, so we must make the most of this present time, while we still cannot see him.
How do we increase our faith? Well, I think the best way to do this is to try to practice thanking God for every single situation that happens in our lives! It is easy to thank God when things are going well (although we often forget to do this), but learning the art of thanking God is most important when we are facing setbacks and difficulties of all kinds. Sometimes Jesus seems far away; we may have difficulties in prayer, in health, in employment; we may have been judged harshly by someone or faced an unjust legal setback. It does not matter: making a habit of thanksgiving in all circumstances (even when we don’t feel like it) is a tremendous act of faith. This is what will make it grow and grow.
Each trial is a golden opportunity, if we have faith.