October 5, 2013

27th Sunday - C

Luke 17: 5-10

Why the request “Increase Our Faith”?

We are now in Chapter 17 of the Gospel According to Luke. 

The disciples have been with Jesus for some time.  They have witnessed Jesus' power in his preaching and healing.  They themselves have been commissioned by Jesus to go out and “proclaim the Kingdom of God” (9:1-2).  The witnessed the power of Jesus at work through them as they experienced that “even the demons were subject to [them] because of [Jesus’] name” (10:17).

At the same time, Jesus has told them what awaits him in Jerusalem, as well as what would cost them if they want to be his disciples.  They have met people who allowed various reasons prevent them from following Jesus.

They themselves have faltered (particularly reported in Chapter 9).

It seems that the disciples have now come to realize their strengths and limitations, measured against the demands of being a disciple.

But more, they now learn that there is another aspect of being a disciple of Jesus.   Jesus commands them that “if [your brother] wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive them” (17:4).

That is then “the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (17:5).

Looking at the context, the following parable of the servant and the master can remind us the source of strength that supports the disciples in living Jesus’ demand. 

We can only follow Jesus as his disciples, especially in imitating his example of love and mercy, when we recognize how good God is to us. 

Unthinkable as it may seem, it is God, the master of the universe, who sits us at his table and shares with us the gift of divine life.  [1]

[1] Pope Benedict XVI, in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei convoking the Year of Faith affirms God’s gift of faith as the gift that leads us to share God’s life in these words, “The ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering an entry into his Church.” (Porta Fidei, #1)

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