Wednesday, October 2, 2013

27th Sunday in OT (C) - The Faith of a Servant

The Faith of a Servant
Luke 17: 5-10
October 6, 2013

GOSPEL READING: The Mustard Seed

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.'"

REFLECTION: The Faith of a Servant

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” A sincere and genuine request, indeed! It invites us to look at the level of our own faith, of how much belief we have in the words of Jesus. But see how the Lord responded, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed…” How considerate the Lord is to His disciples and to us! He does not demand of them a faith they cannot produce but leads them to be grateful for what they have. For faith can only come as a gift from God, we can only be thankful for His graciousness—He gives only what is best for us. The Lord continues, “…you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Jesus teaches us that when it comes to carrying out God’s work, what counts most is how much faith do we put in Him as we live out our vocation, a faith the surrenders our entire being to His service.

The Scriptures abound with ordinary people who had firm faith in God: “God himself will provide…” Abraham said before he was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac. (Gen. 22:8) David spoke up to the Philistines before his battle with Goliath, “…for the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam. 17:47); “You are God in Israel… I am your servant… I have done all these things at your bidding,” the prophet Elijah proclaimed before he won over the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18:36) The centurion, at whom Jesus was amazed, said with confidence, “Only speak the word and let my servant be healed.” (Luke 8:42) And the words “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word,” the Blessed Mother spoke as her humble fiat to God’s wonderful plan of salvation. (Luke 1:38) It was not during secure times were they able to utter these words of faith. Indeed, our faith grows when we persevere in carrying out the will of God in the most trying and confusing times in our life. Nonetheless, today’s Gospel invites us also to see God’s grace working in us, not only in exceptional moments, but also as we live our ordinary lives and go about our daily duties.

I just had my perpetual profession of vows, and I know that prior to this occasion, my path was filled with distress. But placing my confidence in His love, no matter how dark the times were, I knew in my heart the Lord never abandoned me. It is gratitude for His abounding graciousness and the gift of faith that moved me to make and fulfill my vows. After that significant event, I continue my journey as a religious, more open to His love and mercy, as I go about doing my part in the fulfillment of Christ’s mission, particularly with the orphans and the special children here at Bahay ni San Jose. Indeed, times are not always easy but God’s grace continues to sustain me. The mustard seed-like faith that led me to respond to God’s call is the same faith that tells me that all that I have and all that I do come from Him, leading me to say in all humility, “I am an unprofitable servant, I have done only what I was obliged to do.

To God be glory and honor, now and forever!


SR. ANNA MARIE B. FRANCISCO, OP is a professed religious sister of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Joseph.  She is presently assigned at Bahay ni San Jose: Home for Special Children in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija.

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KEYWORDS: Year C, OP Sisters, Faith, Trust, Confidence

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