2 Oct 2022 – 27th Sunday (C)

2 Oct 2022 – 27th Sunday (C)

(1) Habbakuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4

When the prophet mourns injustice, God promises a day of justice

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.

Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

Responsorial: Psalm 94:1-2, 6-9

R./: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come before him, giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord. (R./)

Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand. (R./)

O that today you would listen to his voice!
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.’ (R./)

(2) 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

Like his teacher Paul, Timothy must make sacrifices for his ministry

For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.

Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

Faith the size of a mustard seed can achieve great things

The apostles said to Jesus, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”


Learning from him

“Lord increase our faith,” said the apostles. Elsewhere they asked him, “Lord teach us how to pray” (Lk 11:1). In essence the two requests were the same. To pray is to focus our heart on God, to have faith in God’s concern for us. Every prayer renews our trust in God, and whenever we turn to God in faith, we are praying. It is no more possible to have faith without prayer than to swim without water. But we need to pray in the right spirit. Too often we just want to bring God around to our way of thinking rather than putting ourselves under God’s guidance.

Sometimes prayer is used as a magical formula, a last resort, worth a try when all else fails. A lawyer was walking along a street with a scholarly friend. When they came to a ladder leaning against a house which was being painted, the scholar refused to pass under it. The lawyer laughed and said “Surely you don’t believe in that old superstition about never walking under a ladder!” “No, I don’t believe in it,” the scholar answered, “but I never waste a chance of avoiding an accident.” Maybe that’s how we approach prayer. We don’t strongly believe in it, but we feel that maybe it might work, as a last resort. So we could join in that request, “Lord, increase our faith; Lord, teach us how to pray.”

Jesus did not just teach his friends how to pray, he showed them by his own example. Often he would turn to God and address him as Father. Early in the morning he would go up the hillside, his favourite place for quiet prayer. When visiting Jerusalem, he spent nights at prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, so Judas knew where to find him on the night of his arrest. His prayer in the garden is clearly reported. “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will, not mine be done” (Lk 22:42f). Well, the Father did not take away the cup of suffering from Jesus. But by embracing the will of God, something greater was to follow for Jesus, ultimately his resurrection and ascension. “Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain. But if it dies, it yields much fruit.”

If they could only see me now

“If they could only see me now.” What would our parents or friends think of us if they saw how we behaved in various circumstance, whether we were generous or mean. Many feel this need for the opinion by others, especially to be valued or praised. Unless there’s an audience of some kind to validate us, we hardly think it worthwhile to make the effort. How easy it is to dress up things with a veneer of virtue. Yet only God sees the heart and knows our thoughts.

The opinions of others do matter to some extent. But what counts in the long run is not human opinion but how God sees us. Nothing compares with that judgment. The basic issue is whether we have been authentic human beings. Because of fidelity, the righteous will live. Life in the state of grace, does not depend on social reputation, but on our inner quality. As Paul says, one cannot even fully judge oneself. About righteousness, we can only trust in God’s mercy, while making an honest effort to do what is right. Then the principle applies: “for those who loves God, all things work together unto good.”

If we did things simply for God’s approval, would we be exploited by others? So we won’t commit to being just and generous until others doing so too. The rat-race is nobody’s fault, and yet it’s everybody’s. Social solidarity can only begin when individuals choose it for its own sake. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask rather what you can do for your country.” Ultimately, this is the way to salvation. When our race has been run, and the Master comes to judge our service, only those who have been generous will feel at home in God’s company. Then we will see that this was the right way to live. “Well done good and faithful servant,” and we will say “It was no more than our duty.”

Unprofitable servants? A better word might be “ordinary”. The servants had just done their job, what was expected; they made their due contribution to life, to God and to others. With Jesus as our guide, we would do this as normal. The standards he sets for us are high. Our lives will be worthwhile and noble, if we also choose them for ourselves.

One Comment

  1. Thara Benedicta says:

    Key Message:
    Faith commands miracles!!

    The first reading reverberates our famous question, “Why Lord, why? When God, when?” We keep asking our Lord Jesus, “Why did this bad thing happen to us? Why are good people suffering? When will this bad thing end?” and so on. The more we try to reason out, the more we get into confusion mode. We would have lost the little peace we had before we started worrying.
    God does not plan to put anything bad in our life. For example, when God created the world, He saw that everything was good. He also prepared a plan for us to have a prosperous future. He did not create anything evil. But Satan wanted to spoil the plan and ‘planted’ the tree of good and evil. So God told Adam and Eve, “Do not eat from this tree”. Then they fell into the trap of Satan. But God restored mankind by sending His only Son, Jesus.
    Let us also look at the life of Job. God had put a fence around him to take care of him. Then Satan took away everything from Job. But God restored it. Similarly, God will create a good prosperous plan for our future. But Satan will create some problems for us to hamper us from living the prosperous life our Almighty God had planned for us.
    Whenever we have problems in our life, we should always believe that God will take it and work it out in a good way for our future.

    Further in the first reading, God tells Habakkuk to write down the vision God has for them, so plainly that even a person who runs can read it. Let us ask God to give us an understanding of the vision He has planned for us. Let us write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in a place where we can easily see. Next time, when we unconsciously wonder, “Why God why, when God when?”, we will understand that God has a wonderful future prepared for us.

    In my younger years, I have often wondered why did our Lord Jesus Christ say, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” What did He want to tell us by referring to a mulberry tree? The answer is found in the Gospels. The woman who had the issue of the blood had the faith of a mustard seed. With that faith of a mustard seed, she was able to uproot the disease (her mulberry tree) from her body. She worked out her miracle instead of openly requesting Lord Jesus. Our Lord Jesus did not even know that this miracle had taken place. Her faith drew the grace from Him even without our Lord’s knowledge. Our Lord was having fun in the situation searching for whom He had cured unknowingly.
    Hereafter, when a problem arises, let us say, “Lord Jesus I know that you surely have the solution for this problem. You will surely take care of the problem. Thank you Jesus for solving it!!”
    Faith commands miracles!!

    We can even surprise our Lord Jesus by our faith. In the Gospel, our Lord Jesus did not get surprised with the huge crowd of people thronging to Him. He was surprised only with deep faith or the lack of faith. For example, when the centurion said, “Your word is sufficient enough to cure my servant”, the Lord Jesus was happily surprised. When the people of His own village did not have faith in Him, He was surprised sadly.
    Faith surprises Jesus!!

    In the midst of the huge crowd, the distressed woman walked silently and boldly touched the hem of the dress of our Lord Jesus. Others in the crowd also touched Jesus, but nothing happened. In faith one person touched just the hem of our Lord Jesus, a miracle happened!!
    Faith yields different results for the same effort!!

    In the second reading, the Apostle Paul says, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather a spirit of power and self-discipline”. We can achieve our mission with this spirit of boldness and power which our Jesus has provided for us. We should realise that we are bestowed with the spirit of boldness. Why did God place a Red Sea in the path of Israelites when they were coming out of Egypt? He could have taken them through the other route. But He made them cross the Red Sea with songs of praise and joy!! All He wanted them to do was “Keep going. Do not stand perplexed”. When they proceeded, the Red Sea parted and paid respect to them. Our ‘problematic Red Sea’ will also part and pay respect to us when we cross it looking at the face of our Jesus. Even if ‘our Red Sea’ is too big and too deep, no problem. Saying the name of our Jesus we can keep walking through it. The ‘Red Sea’ will give us a way.
    The bigger the ‘Red Sea’, the greater the respect we will receive.

    The Apostle Paul says that we have already been blessed with a spirit of self-discipline. We do not know what we are blessed with, the spirit of self-discipline, isn’t it? We have the grace to be disciplined and our success depends on making use of this grace. Disciplining the mind is especially important. Having an ambition in our life will make our mind focus on useful things. We can study how much of our “thinking time” we spend usefully. One person commented, “I used to waste a lot of my thinking time earlier, unconsciously. When I used to feel bored or whenever I felt down, I analysed what were the things I was thinking. They were all unnecessary and not doing any good for the future. So I started to listen to something good when I was doing easy chores. At the end of it, apart from finishing chores, I felt energetic too.” Let us live a disciplined thought life.
    If we are disciplined in our mind, our lives will become powerful.

    Let us have a vision for our life, the same vision which our God has already planned for us. We can achieve the vision by walking in faith boldly and with self-discipline.
    Nothing can keep us from the will of God. If we have failed till now, our God will prepare another plan for us, plan B. So let us walk forward not reminding ourselves of our past failures. Our Almighty Father has filled our future to be prosperous.
    Let us keep going, not stand perplexed!!

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