Gospel: Lk 17:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples, “Scandals will necessarily come and cause people to fall; but woe to the one who brings them about. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck. Truly, this would be better for that person, than to cause one of these little ones to fall. Listen carefully: if your brother offends you, tell him, and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he offends you seven times in one day, but seven times he says to you, ‘I’m sorry,’ forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” And the Lord said, “If you have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree, ‘Be uprooted, and plant yourself in the sea!’ and it will obey you.“
Jesus does not give his disciples an easy answer to their request for faith. He tells them if they had faith “the size of a mustard seed” they could command a mulberry tree to be uprooted and moved to the sea. We distinguish the faith that “moves mountains” from basic trust in God or Christ. Our tendency to distinguish these two types of faith tends to be rooted in the false assumption that the former has to do with manipulating some kind of supernatural power and the latter has to do with submitting to an external authority or set of beliefs or standards of conduct. To have faith means having our whole way of perceiving and responding to life transformed by the prodigality of God’s mercy. If having “faith” – even faith the size of a mustard seed – means having one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions wholly transformed by God’s Reign in our midst, then it entails being caught by and immersed in God’s mercy and love. Since God’s grace is immeasurable, his generosity and mercy elude any of our attempts to manipulate it – either as a power we can control or as a means for justifying or rewarding ourselves. This is why we are “worthless slaves”: those to whom nothing is owed. We serve in the banquet of God’s kingdom simply because of who we are, or more importantly, because of the One who is the source of everything we have and do.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018