Hab. 1:2-3, 2:2-4; Ps. 95; 2 Tm. 1:6-8, 13-14; Lk. 17:5-10
(Audio recorded live, 2 October 2022)
Today the Word of God speaks to us of the importance of faith. The Lord tells the prophet Habakkuk that the vision has its time, “it will surely come, it will not be late…the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live.” In other words, those who persevere in faith to the end shall live. St. Paul encourages Timothy to carry out his priestly ministry by stirring into flame the sacrament of Holy Orders. He says, “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” This spirit of power dwells in each of us by way of our baptism, and Timothy is to rely on these gifts to keep the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. And in our Gospel, the Apostles say to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Jesus says, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could uproot a giant tree and plant it in the sea. In other words, a small amount of faith can do great, even unimaginable things.
It is the latter half of the Gospel passage, however, that may leave some of us perplexed. What is Jesus talking about when describing the servants in the field and their relationship to their master? Well, consider that in Jesus’ day, hired servants were more than common. Many people lived out their entire lives as servants. So, the scenario Jesus provides would have been very familiar. He asks what master would tell his servants to sit down immediately after working in the field? The answer is no one. The master would rather tell the servants to do what they were hired to do, that is, wait on him, then they can eat and drink. In other words, Jesus is giving us a blueprint for discipleship. We are to be like the servants who tend to the master’s needs and when he is finished, then join in the meal. It is an image of our life of service on earth and the heavenly banquet to come.
And so, as we seek to be faithful disciples and devoted servants of the master, may the communion we share be a foretaste of the heavenly banquet and the sustenance that helps us stir into flame the gift of God. And may the good work we do here on earth bear fruit in heaven.