Daily Reflection – Oct 2, 2016
Sunday 2 October 2016
First Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts
Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Gospel Reading: Luke 17:5-10
Today’s Note: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”
Do you think the religious authorities of Jesus’ day – people with whom Jesus was constantly in conflict – did not know the content of the tradition? In fact they were well informed. But there was something essential missing. Matthew’s Gospel points in this direction when we hear Jesus say: “If your virtue goes no deeper than the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
Were doctrines and laws important to Jesus? In Luke we hear Jesus say: “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for one little stroke to disappear out of the law” (Luke 16:17). The true disciples recognises that doctrines and laws are not only important, they are essential. The true disciple also recognises, however, that there is something far more important, far more fundamental than doctrines and laws – it is the Covenant. The Covenant is embodied in his being.
The primal fact of the Tradition – both Jewish and Christian – is God’s reaching out to us, loving us into freedom. God’s love is unmerited and absolute. We cannot earn that love nor can we stop that love or do anything that would make God love us more or less.
Faith is first and foremost an awakening to the fact of this divine event. It is gift! A “mustard seed”! Faith is a relationship, and like any relationship, when nurtured, encouraged, facilitated, appreciated, celebrated, it never stops growing.
It is a terrible mistake to think that we can “pass on the faith” by simply imparting information about doctrine and law and morality. Faith is caught, not taught. The “mustard seed” is most likely to take root in the individual who is part of a community where people, by their very presence, radiate the Presence.
Here is a rule of thumb: As you have been loved into freedom, be in the world so that God may love others into freedom through you. Is your faith an experience of being loved into freedom? What has been most significant in the development of your faith – for better or worse?