27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – C
What if one morning you wake up to know that you don’t have much time left because you lost your battle against a disease or cancer? Or to realize that your loved one left you for good? Or when a painful tragedy strikes your family? When your dreams have fallen apart, left without inspiration and no drive to move on? When at the end of the long tunnel you don’t see light at all, hit rock bottom and you feel alone? The words of the prophet Habakkuk in our First Reading becomes our own: “O Lord how long must I cry for help and you pay no attention?" Isn't this also our cry?
In the same manner, the words of the apostles in our Gospel today becomes our own, too: “Increase our faith.” Jesus responded that if we have faith at least as big as a mustard seed, we can do the impossible. Faith here is not just belief which is the ascent of the mind to a religious conviction. It is rather the deep personal trust and unwavering confidence in the God we believe in. When we are besieged by evil that seems to triumph in the eyes of the world, the Lord calls for fidelity! Faith in God most especially during horrendous moments when things just don’t fit in together and without meaning; faith in God even if it seems that He is not responding the way we want nor we feel He is not present at all. The same resolute faith of Jesus when He was hanging on the cross, abandoning Himself to His Father who, in the eyes of the world, had abandoned Him. The faith of the saints have been tested in moments when they were tortured and suffered the most horrible pain in the midst of a taunting world looking for God who seemed absent or silent. We may not have such a huge faith; all we need is faith as tiny as a mustard seed to battle the worst storms in our lives.
It is the same faith that does not expect any entitlement or reward. We live in a world of legal entitlements as our right over the amount of time and effort we have exerted. That’s what our jobs for; that’s how we build up our careers. It is the law of commerce which determines our lives and status in the society. But our lives as disciples of Jesus is far different from the commerce of the world. God is not indebted to us in anyway whatsoever that we should expect Him to spare us from pain nor tragedies nor to reward us because we deserve it after doing something good. God has His own ways of rewarding those who are faithful to Him, more than we can ever imagine.
Our fidelity with God is mirrored in many different ways but most especially in the nuptial relationship of husband and wife. Take the example of a couple who after celebrating their wedding anniversary feel as if they are just starting their love story again. Having been faithful to each other in the midst of tragedies and suffering or even after discovering each other’s unpleasantries, they vowed always to be together for the rest of their lives, for better or for worse.
It is also mirrored in the life of a missionary who spent his/her whole life in the mission or an unknown monk in a far away monastery who left the world. To most of us who live ordinary lives, it is our day to day entrustment to God believing He is in charge and that nothing will harm us because we are safe in His hands. These are some expressions of humanity’s fidelity to God which does not expect rewards nor entitlements but is always ready to give oneself unselfishly to God because of love.
At the end, we will realize that no matter what happens in our life journey, God will always be faithful to us otherwise He stops being God.