October 2, 2010


27th Sunday - C
Luke 17: 5-10

When do We Ask the Lord, "Increase our Faith"?

For some time now (since chapter 9, verse 51; or 14 Sundays if we follow the Sunday gospel readings), the disciples of Jesus has been journing with him to Jerusalem, the journey to the cross.

They have experienced great success in the missions that Jesus sent them out to do. They returned and reported to Jesus, "Even the demons are subject to us because of your name." (10:17)

Jesus, in response, told them that their true blessing is more than that. In fact, they were seeing the things that prophets and kings wanted to see (10: 23-24) Moreover, their names are written in heaven (10:20).

They have also known people who want to follow Jesus but stopped short because of their various attachments to people or things (9: 57-62). Then there were those who rejected Jesus and his teaching, usually due to selfishness, self-righteousness, or pride.

At the same time, Jesus has been encouraging them and the other followers with the example of the Good Samaritan, his healing miracles, and his powerful teaching.

He also was straightforward with them in telling them that nothing should take God's place of priority in their lives (14: 25-30) and the danger facing those who allow the passing things of this world to replace God (the parable of the rich person whose only concern is what to do with his wealth and forgets that life does not belong to him). In addition, the disciples' way to the kingdom is through the narrow gate.

Finally, Jesus has taught them how to pray and urged them to have faith in God (11: 1-13). He also affirmed them of God's incredible love for humanity with the "parables of the lost and found" [1] (the lost sheep, the lost coin, the father and the two sons).

And Jesus gives the disciples the mission to "set the earth on fire" with him inspite of the rejection they might face (12: 49-53). Together, they are called to serve the like of Lazarus who cannot return the favor (14: 7-14, 16:19:31).

The disciples are humans with shortcomings and weaknesses. Reality of life is challenging. Yet, their mission is awesome. And the blessings are incredible. Is it the awareness of who they are in the face of all of these enable them to ask the Lord to increase their faith?

When do we ask the Lord most sincerely to increase our faith?

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 234.

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