Homily for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: INCREASE OUR FAITH, O LORD.
By: Fr JB Mbbah-Offor.
Homily for Sunday October 6 2019
TWENTY SEVENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR C
Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4, 2 Tim 1:6-8.13-14, Gosp Lk 17:5-10.
Today, the Church invites us to reflect on one of the theological virtues – Faith. The Gospel of today tells us about the request the Apostles made to the Lord. They said: “Lord increase our faith”. The Lord said, ” if you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you would tell this sycamore tree ( Greek: Sukamino), be uprooted and be planted in the sea and it would obey you.
The Apostles of Jesus made this request in verse 5 of Luke 17. These Apostles were like bishops that wanted their faith to be increased by Jesus. They recognized faith as a gift from God and asked Jesus to increase their faith. Faith has been mentioned in this Gospel of Luke several times so far (Luke 5:20 -When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the leper your sins are forgiven , Luke 7: 9 – Jesus said to them: not even in Israel have I found such great faith , Luke 7:50 – Jesus said to the woman, your faith has saved you , Luke 8:25 – Jesus said to His disciples: where is your faith? , Luke 8:48 – Jesus said to the woman that suffered from bleeding for twelve years…your faith has healed you, and Luke 17:5 – about the request to increase the faith of the Apostles ).
What is faith
Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone. Faith is derived from the Latin word ” Fides” meaning confidence or trust in a person, thing or concept. Faith is being certain of what you do not see or experience yet. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
According to Catechism of the Catholic Church no 189, the first profession of faith is made during Baptism. The symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed. Since baptism is given in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the truth of faith professed during baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity”. At mass we profess our faith.
Faith is a grace. When Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come from flesh and blood, but from God the Father who is in heaven. Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him.
In Luke 17:6, Jesus says: if you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you would tell the sycamore tree, be uprooted and be planted in the sea and it would obey you” The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds. Jesus chooses this tiny seed to demonstrate the great power of even the smallest bit of faith. The point is that faith, even in small quantities, has great power, which makes all things possible even moving trees and causing them to grow in saltwater. It’s not our faith that works these wonders but the God who stands behind our faith.
Christians need a devoted faith, a dedicated faith. It is faith with Christ at the center. Hebrew 11:6 says: but without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. We must have faith in God and not in self or money, or weapon, or raw power or people. The power behind the faith Jesus mentioned is God’s power and it is faith in God that allows us to appropriate that power.
Our faith can be increased by habitual prayers and devotional meditation. Association with people of faith builds faith, so our participation in the activities of the Church is important. Faith in God is important and without it we cannot survive spiritually. Like the Apostles, we need to continuously make the same request they made by asking God to increase our faith.
Faith will help us to conquer so many challenges that will come our way. Living by faith means realising that God is always in control and calls us to live as His children every time of the day. Many Christians claim to know God but do not believe what the Lord can do. Faith is the mother of all virtues. We need faith in all we do. Faith without good works is dead ( James 2: 17).
Fr JB Mbbah-Offor.