The Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our first reading this Sunday, from the Prophet Habakkuk (1:2-3,2:2-4), is a lament that could have been written yesterday as well as 2,600 years ago. The evil and hardship of Habakkuk's complaint is not unlike our own today, and we struggle to understand God's ways. God's response to Habakkuk is one of patience and faith. The "vision" God refers to is the promise of Salvation. Only those who trust and have faith will persevere.
"How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.
In our Gospel reading (Luke 17:5-10), Jesus responded to the Apostles' request for increased faith and also explained they must have the true heart of a servant. Jesus was the living example of the selfless servant who's service was its own reward.
"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.''"
In our Epistle reading (2 Timothy 1:6-8. 13-14), we continue reading from St. Paul's letters from prison to Timothy, encouraging him to remain faithful.
"Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us."
In the seemingly endless cycles of violence and division among us today, we should gain strength from the fact that our plight is not new - it is the human condition. What will help us persevere and overcome is patience and trust in God; knowing that God will ultimately triumph over evil. Taking St. Paul's lesson, we must use the "power and love and self-control" to "stir into flame the gift of God" that is within us.
- Click Here to read, reflect and pray on the full readings for Sunday, October 2, 2016