02 October 2022 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

by Fr Joachim Robert

Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4
Psalm 94(95):1-2,6-9
2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Luke 17:5-10

Imitate St Francis – Love All Creation

Dear friends,

Our Gospel today highlights of the Apostles’ realisation that they have faith. And that faith needs to be increased.

And I am sure, dear friends, each and every one of us, by the virtue of our baptism, each one of us have received this gift of faith that has been given to us. And when we are faced with challenges and obstacles of life, many many many of us turn to our faith to orientate our life, turn our faith to find meaning and purpose in life. Because sometimes holding on to that gift of faith may not be that easy and we will face obstacles, challenges, difficulties.

Perhaps, in the First Reading of today from the Prophet Habakkuk, the faith that Habakkuk had was tested. And he said “How long Lord am I to cry for help while you will not listen? To cry oppression in your ear and you will not hear? Why do you set injustice before me? Why do you look on where there is tyranny, outrage and violence? This is all I see. All is contention and discord flourishes.

And possibly, dear friends, some of us may be experiencing those isolation, those rejection, those moments where we feel lonely even though we are people who believe in God and people who have faith. And to dig deeper, very often we pray and we ask for God for assistance but He doesn’t seem to listen to us. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge our cry for help and solving situations for us.

For the waiting of Habakkuk was that God may intervene in those situations as the people of Israel were crying for help. Habakkuk wanted God to rescue the people of Israel from violence and from destruction. As we look at our own lives, each one of us are confronted with so many different types of battle that we fight. Each one of us cry for help in so many different ways. Each one of us look at ourselves and see what is all these happening and why is it happening to me. So we can put ourselves in the situation of Habakkuk where we are not sure where this faith is leading and propelling us forward.

But as we look at the First Reading, that waiting on the Lord, that waiting or perhaps for someone who has hurt us and we have not been reconciled. Perhaps we are waiting for that reconciliation. And perhaps in so many situations that is around the world in terms of war, we are waiting and possibly in terms of so much of unfairness that is happening around the world, even in our own families, in our own lives, in our own workplace, things may seem to be unfair. And perhaps we are praying and praying for our children, our parents, to be reconciled or perhaps waiting for them to turn back to God. And we are confronted with all these scenarios, dear friends.

But as we look at them, that patient waiting of Habakkuk, of asking God to intervene in those moments and challenges of life, made him restore his hope in God. In the situations that he gets frustrated, in the situations that he loses hope, we see how God intervenes and allows him to wait and wait and wait for His timing rather than allowing things to happen in his timing. And that teaches us, dear friends, that waiting before God teaches us humility and teaches us to trust in the providence of God in our lives. In humility and in trust we acknowledge and we grow in that aspect of increasing our faith and putting our faith and trust in God even more.

As we continue to look at the Gospel today, that acknowledgement of that gift of faith that has been given to them makes them realise that they want to increase their faith more and more and more. In the same way that each and every one of us want to increase our faith. But what is interesting is today the Lord replied:-

For your faith the size of a mustard seed, we could say to this mulberry tree we uprooted and planted the seed and it would obey you.

And here, dear friends, the Lord is asking and telling the Apostles that if their faith is small as a mustard seed, they can move mountains. And each one of us, that seed of faith that has been planted in our lives at baptism is a reminder for us even in that smallness of that seed, God has the whole capability of His love given to us and we need to allow that seed to grow, mature and flower. As much as we want to grow, each one of us have the capacity to grow in faith. Each one of us have the gift of faith that has been given to us and we need to nurture, we need to nourish and we need to water that gift of faith so that it can blossom and grow.

And that happens, dear friends, during the time when we are waiting on the Lord. Most times. Each time we wait on the Lord to allow the Lord to transform, mold and shape us, it gives us every opportunity to acknowledge that our problems and the challenges of life are far far greater than what we can handle ourselves. But God is far beyond our problems, God is far beyond our obstacles, God is far beyond every situations of life. And that is why the Lord says “be uprooted and plant in the seed and it will obey you.

What is interesting is that the word “uproot” and the word “plant“. And as we look at our faith journey, there are many areas in our lives, dear friends, that we need to uproot. Uproot because it does not bear fruit. And we need to humble ourselves before the Lord to ask Him what are the areas of life that needs to be uprooted. And the other thing is to be planted. And what is interesting in today’s reading is “be uprooted and planted in the seed.” And I am sure plants, mulberry trees, don’t grow in the seed. And if you look carefully, it is the situation that is impossible. In a situation that is impossible, we are planted so that our gift of faith that has been given to us may continue to flourish and grow.

And as we look at ourselves, dear friends, we may be having so many obstacles and challenges of life that we are not sure what to do. Situations that may seem impossible. But here is a reminder that in that impossible situation of planting the mulberry tree in the seed, God says that our faith can mature. And if you have a seed, your faith as a small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains.

It is an invitation, dear friends, to go down on our knees and pray before God to focus our hearts once again on God who cares for us. Even though we may have drifted, even though we have lost sight of God, the Lord is asking us to refocus our attention for Him because He cares for us. And the faithfulness that the Lord gives us is that His love is always constant.

And as we look at the Second Reading of today, the gift of faith that has been given to us, Saint Paul encourages Timothy. And as a community too, we too need to encourage one another. And he says,

I am reminding you to fan into flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands to you. God’s gift is not a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. And you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord or ashamed of me of being His prisoner. But with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God.

And that is what faith does to us, dear friends, if we acknowledge what God has given to us, we appreciate what has been entrusted to us. In the same way of how the Apostles came to that realisation of their faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. You and I, dear friends, are given the same faith as small as the mustard seed but with the capacity for greatness.

And in doing so, dear friends, we need to encourage one another, to build each other up of our gifts and talents, in our relationship with God so that we can bear witness through our hardships and difficulties relying only on the power of God. Let us ask the Lord, dear friends, to truly appreciate the gift that God has given to us, the gift of faith where it motivates us and renews ourselves to be focused on God and on God alone.

Let us pray for the grace that if we have hardened our hearts, that we would listen to the voice of the Lord, the voice of the Good Shepherd.

In conclusion, the Responsorial Psalm says today:

O that today you would listen to His voice, hardened not your hearts.

And let us listen to the voice of the Lord and acknowledge the gift of faith that has been entrusted to us and grow in the reliance of the Holy Spirit, on the power of God in our lives, even though it is a small mustard seed.

Click below to listen to the homily and watch the video:-

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