October 2, 2016: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
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; for we have only done what we ought to do.” (Luke 17:5-10)
In the gospel passage before today’s reading, Jesus is teaching the apostles about forgiveness – forgiving someone seven times if he repents and asks for forgiveness. That probably seemed impossible to the apostles – as it might to us – so they cry out to Jesus: “Help us to understand what you’re asking of us – increase our faith.” Jesus answers using a story – as he often does – and sometimes these stories called parables are confusing – we have to let the Spirit help us understand. Perhaps Jesus is saying: don’t be expecting rewards every time you do what you are expected to be doing. Continue to “serve,” without reward; continue to do what serves your family and the world, then maybe your understanding and your faith will grow at the same time.
Think about what you might do this week for others. Can you do these things without complaining or wanting a reward? Could you even do something for someone that they do not even expect? Visit a friend or relative? Spend more time with your children/grandchildren? Then ask Jesus how this service to others will increase your understanding of how love works in this world!