Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time

mustard-seedWe have great respect for people who are conscientious, fulfill their duties, do all that is expected of them. More than even respect, we have great awe for those who walk the extra mile, who reach out to others when this is not required, who go beyond normal expectations. Going beyond expectations is an enlargement of self that enables us to transcend boundaries and limits, and achieve the seemingly impossible. People who do this can move mountains, can shake foundations, can uproot a mulberry tree. These people inspire us, move us to greater heroics, challenge us to stretch ourselves so that we become even larger than life. These are people of great faith.
In our Gospel, the apostles demand that Jesus increase their faith. Jesus responds that even faith “the size of a mustard seed” is enough to do great  things. The “unprofitable servants” of Jesus’ gospel teaching simply do what they are commanded—they do not go beyond normal expectations; they cannot uproot a mulberry tree They misunderstood the nature and power of faith. Faith cannot be quantified, but its power can be impeded. Jesus teaches that with even a little bit of faith, we can achieve great and seemingly impossible things.[Living Liturgy 2013]
Aligned with God, we can do the seemingly impossible because we can do as God does. We can forgive someone who has broken our trust, love someone who rubs us the wrong way, relieve hunger even by simple acts of generosity, bring justice to situations where the powerful exploit the weak, remain faithful to prayer even when God seems absent. All these are acts of faith. All these go beyond normal expectations. All these reveal how powerful our God is, and how deep our faith can be.


Increase Our Faith

The natural attitude of human beings is that we know the answer to all situations, and that answer will advance our desires and intentions. We are impatient and insistent for our answers to be accepted by others and especially by God. We set ourselves up as judge over God. In the Gospel, we are reminded that our task is to do all that we are charged with. All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed. God will do all the real work. What holds us back? It may be we lack confidence in our own power. Or maybe it is that we insist on doing the job alone. Jesus calls us to faith in who we are: God’s servants empowered to make a difference in the world because God makes a difference in us.