“Increase Our Faith, O Lord!”
27th Sunday Ordinary Time
October 6, 2019
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 never had the opportunity to love God before seeing him. As long as we can’t see the reward God wants to give us or the One whom we are 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 under the disguise of a poor man, a person of little value, as it were, that he might be loved not just for his gifts, but for himself. Many people reject him, thinking he has nothing of value for them, or that he doesn’t even exist.
What are some of the ways 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 our glory forever because we are doing these things for the Lord whom 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? One way to do this is striving to thank God for all that happens in our lives. While it is easier to thank God when things are going well (although we often forget to do this), 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. 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 faith grow, and our reward will be a relationship with God himself that will never end.