Gospel Reflection Oct 2 – Sr. Teresa
Sunday, October 2
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 17: 5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
How big is your faith? Is it as big as the ocean or as big as a mountain or the universe? I like to think of myself as a woman of strong faith, but today’s Gospel passage from Luke challenges that assumption. Jesus tells me that even faith the size of a mustard seed will do great and wondrous things. A mustard seed is about 1/8” so not the tiniest seed but still very tiny. Jesus tells us that even faith the size of the mustard seed could do powerful things. Truthfully, I have not moved any mulberry trees into the sea. I have not done anything that even comes close to that. I have not done great and wondrous things in my life. I tend to just move along doing what I can do to spread the gospel. When I stopped and looked at what I just wrote the one word that popped out was “I”. In reflecting on that with the lens of this Gospel passage I realized that it was not my faith that was the problem; it was my focus on the “I”.
Sometimes we start thinking that “we are all it and a bag of potato chips.” Then a good friend has to tell us to get over ourselves. The gospel passage today is pulling at a thread that is woven through every piece of the liturgy of the word this Sunday. The underlying message is that FAITH IS NOT ABOUT ME AND WHAT I CAN DO, it is about God and what God can do through me. It is not about us, it is all about what God can do through us.
God is in charge, the source of our faith, and we are God’s gifted and beloved followers. God has given us the gifts we need to shape this world into a place of peace and justice for all people, the way God created it to be. However, we cannot do it without God’s grace leading us. We cannot do it without loving more and forgiving more. We cannot do it alone. We need each other and we absolutely need to believe that God is the Leader. Let our prayer be the prayer of the disciples: “Lord, increase our faith.” Pray that we will have the good sense to surrender to God and let ourselves be willing instruments of God’s love, forgiveness and peace in the world. So, let’s get over ourselves and take time to pray the prayer of St. Francis and reflect on its message.
-Sister Teresa Tuite, OP