Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4; 2 Tim 1:6-8, 13-14; Lk 17:5-10
Fr Fernando Armellini
Can faith grow? If faith is reduced to the assent given to a list of truths, it cannot grow. But, if faith as growing in an unconditional trust in the Lord, then, it is easy to realize that faith can grow or diminish.
The experience of an uncertain and wavering faith is our own daily experience. We believe in Jesus, but we do not trust him totally. We don’t have the courage to untie ourselves from certain habits, to make certain sacrifices. Here we have a faith that needs to strengthen itself.
To explain the growth in faith, Jesus employs a tree. If Jesus refers to a sycamore tree, then the allusion is to its very strong roots. The roots can withstand for six hundred years and it is very difficult to uproot them. Jesus says: Faith is capable of realizing something as impossible as uprooting a sycamore or to making a mulberry grow in the sea.
These miracles he spoke of refers to the inexplicable transformations, in our society and in the world when we really trust the word of the Gospel and put it into practice.
For one who believes—Jesus says—no irremediable situations exist. Those who trust in his word will be witnessing extraordinary and unexpected miracles.
Does God delight in humiliating us?
Fountain of Love and Life (www.FLL.cc)
Slavery, something we rebuke in our world today, was part of the social fabric of the ancient world. The master-and-servant relationship that existed in Jesus’ time was nothing shocking and improper. What is shocking is what Jesus taught us — to be like a slave. Does God delight in humiliating us? Does God deal with us as His slaves?
Ancient peoples who had not yet received God’s revealed truth, thought that men and women were created to labour as slaves to serve their gods, to appease them in order to remain alive. Israel instead believed that man was created not only in God’s likeness but also to His liking (Ps 103, 36:8. 136:26, 86:15; Zep 3:17). So what Jesus was driving at in the gospel reading was not slavery in its literal sense, but service and humility, something He always affirmed and did (Mk 9:33-37, 10:41-45; Mt 23:11-12).
As God’s creatures, we must first see where we stand before Him. We have nothing to boast of before Him. Everything that we can delight in and be proud of is primarily received through the grace of God. Indeed, when we have accomplished what was asked of us, we should only deem ourselves useless servants and unworthy of any reward. Once we put on this attitude and acknowledge our dependence on God, we will begin to see that God has in fact a high regard for us in spite of our lowliness. Just a few examples to illustrate this point as follows:
-He gave up His only Son for us in order to save us from being the slaves of sin (Rom 6:17).
-He “proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
-God who created men became men’s servant at the Last Supper, stooping low to wash their feet (Jn13:4-5).
-But the most powerful sign of God’s love for us is Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, where He “though was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God……..He emptied himself taking the form of a slave……obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-11).
To conclude, Jesus, though Teacher and Lord, did not behave like the master in the parable. In fact, in another parable, He reversed the roles of master and servant (Lk 12:37) so that in reality He the master died the death of a slave. As a result of his death, man is “no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then also an heir” (Gal 4:7).