HOMILY FOR THE 27TH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME ( YR C).October 6, 2019. First reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Second reading: 2 TM 1:6-8, 13-14; Gospel: Luke 17:5-10
“ When one does one’s own duty, one must not be concerned, because God’s help will not be lacking .”
– St. Gianna Beretta Molla
My dearest people of God. I welcome you to another encounter with God on this table of His words, where He feeds us with His soul-nourishing and transforming words. We have come to ask for more faith to do what we were obliged to do as faithful servants of God.
The readings of this Sunday bring to our consciousness the need to develop a faithful, trusting and obedient relationship with God. So, this morning I want us to reflect on doing what we were obliged to do as disciples of Christ. This theme is drawn from the last statement of the gospel of today.
There is always a sense of obligation in the things we do in life and especially in our religious relationship with God. This obligation is often misinterpreted by the so-called men of God and used as a means of exploiting their congregation. It must be clearly understood that our obligation as Christians, does not consist of only material provisions or support to the church. What is more important is our obligation to be faithful in observing what God has commanded us to do, and sustaining the relationship in faith and service to Him. Every other material support we render to the church flows from this faithful relationship.
As disciples of Christ, what we need most to accomplish our Christian obligation is the virtue of faith. It is faith that sustains our commitment to our obligations; strengthens our resolutions and inspires our actions. It follows from this, that our first and foremost obligation is to be faithful to God. In the gospel, the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. They ask for more faith, just as we do. In reply, Jesus scolds them for lacking even mustard seed faith and suggests they should not expect reward or praise for their service. Perhaps, however, there is more to the story. When Jesus’ followers ask for faith, what do we want? Some might desire that faith brings a certain kind of certainty, perhaps even superiority. Faith, then, becomes an accomplishment. Some seek a mystical experience, a faith that works like a drug and helps us get through life’s ordinary challenges. Some aspire to faith as an antidote to struggle. With enough faith, the televangelists tell us, we can conquer doubt, illness, even economic hardship. In addition, people can have faith in themselves, money, weapons, and people. So what do you need faith for? I am asking this question because many religious truths have been misinterpreted and misrepresented so much as to annoy God who revealed these truths. To remind ourselves what we already know: Faith is a supernatural gift of God infused into our souls to enable us assent to divinely revealed truths. According to CCC, ” Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth”
Basically, faith is a gift that should be reciprocated in our relationship with God and is essential for the service of God. A person of faith taps into God’s power, which makes all things possible—even moving trees. It is not our faith that works these wonders, but the God who stands behind our faith. We need faith in God. Jesus commands us to have faith and our faith is nurtured through prayers( a personal relationship with Him). People who distance themselves from God, lose their faith and their trust in Him. We build our faith and trust in others when we are close to them or when we experience them personally, so it is with God.
OUR OBLIGATION TO RENDER FAITHFUL AND OBEDIENT SERVICE
Our faith in God must be manifested in the quality of service we render to God and others. ( faith without good work is dead). We are called to be obedient servants who will at all times obey the instructions of their master.
“If we wish to serve God and love our neighbour well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open our hearts. It is joy that invites us. Press forward and fear nothing .”
– St. Katharine Drexel
It is our obligation to render faithful service in obedience to God. And when we do what God expects of us, our fulfilment and joy comes not from the material rewards, but from the conviction that we are simply doing what God wants. God rewards us for our faithful service. Heaven is our ultimate reward, look up to it.
So, in every situation ask yourself before you react to or respond to a problem ” What would God expect of me in this situation?” , follow whatever answer that comes to you from the inner voice of conscience. There might be internal conflicts but stick to doing what pleases God. You won’t regret your actions later.
The first reading from the prophet Habakkuk highlights this same obligation of faith. When we complain that God is deaf to our prayers or He is delaying in His response, or He is neutral in the presence of our difficulties, be consoled and have faith in His words:
“…for the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfilment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late”.
St. Paul tells us in the second reading “bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God”.
We ask God in this Mass to increase our faith and give us the grace to be faithful to our Christian service and obligations to our church, our families and the society at large. His grace is sufficient for you, work with it.
Prayer: Lord increase my faith and make me faithful in your service. May I find fulfillment in doing your work and not be discouraged by lack of material rewards. Amen.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Clem C. Aladi