Week of October 6, 2013

How big is your faith? Is it big enough to weather the storms in your life? Is it strong enough to uproot trees? In today’s Gospel the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus tells them it is not so much a question of size. It is a question of whether we believe and do we act in our faith.

In her reflection on today’s readings Patricia Sanchez speaks about faith and what it means. She quotes from a book entitled Preaching from the Pew by social worker and author Patricia G. Brown, an elder of Kennedy Heights Presbyterian Church. She insists that for faith to be authentic it must “go public.”

Faith is more than prayer. It is more than a profession of belief in God. Faith does not only speak about God or discuss what needs to be done. Faith becomes true when prayer and belief and talk are translated into actions that witness to the reality of God. Faith becomes real when, through our care and our service, the needy know compassion and realize their dignity before God and all others in the human community.

When Jesus encouraged his disciples’ growth in faith, he did not recommend that they enroll in special theology classes or commit themselves to a lifelong study of the law. Rather, he told them to live their faith. He urged them to move toward the service of others because of their relationship with him. (Celebration)

Faith is something that is lived. Even, or maybe especially, when things are difficult. Faith will see us through. I remember the story of a woman of faith whose husband died suddenly. Her sense of loss was great and her faith felt weak, but she was surrounded by people of faith who loved her. Somehow their faith helped see her through.

The prophet Habakkuk knew the frustrations of his day. He prayed, “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene.” Sounds like it could prayer for us. We see violence, war, injustice, inhumanity, sickness, suffering and abuse of every kind. The prophet is reminded that those things are not the final answer. God’s vision is different and “the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” We’ve got to have faith. And we act on our faith.

Frankly, I must admit that acting on our faith is not always easy. And yet the deepest part of me knows faith is where we find life. Faith teaches me despair is not the answer. We need to remain true to what we believe in. I may not understand how the mulberry tree is uprooted. I do know it is something beyond me. Grace always comes with faith.

I am going to be gone a few days this week to attend “Clergy Days” with my brother priests at the Lake of the Ozarks. On Wednesday there will be a
communion service instead of mass.

Have a great week.

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