Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A.
Hab 1: 2-3; 2: 2-4
Ps 95: 1-2, 6-7. 8-9
2 Tim 1: 6-8, 13-14
Lk 17: 5-10
How many time do we see people who have blind faith? Then we ask ourselves if I had more faith maybe I would not struggle with doubts and questions, like why do bad things happen to good people? If my faith was stronger maybe he would not have gotten sick and died; she would have recovered. If I just had more faith maybe I would commit myself to be more active and involved in the church. If I just had more faith maybe I would be a better person, a better priest, a better parent, a better spouse, a better employer a better employee. If I just had more faith I would know what to do, I would handle things better. If I just had more faith life would be different.
The apostles ask, “Increase our faith.” Jesus has just warned them not to become stumbling blocks to others and enjoined them to forgive as often as an offender repents even if it is seven times in one day. That will be difficult. It will be a challenge to live that way. “Increase our faith” is their response. It seems like a reasonable request. If a little is good a lot must be better. If McDonald’s can supersize our fries and drink surely Jesus can supersize our faith.
Jesus is very clear that faithfulness is not about size or quantity. “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed,” he says, “you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Faith is a relationship of trust, mercy and love. It means opening ourselves to receive another’s life and giving our life to another. That other one is Jesus the Christ. That one faith-relationship is determinative of who we are and how we live.
Faith changes our lives. It does not protect us from the troubles and difficulties of everyday living; rather it is a means of how to live day in and day out with unconditional trust in Christ who is our faith.
Faith, then, is how we live; the lens through which we see ourselves, others, and the world; the criterion by which we act and speak. Faithfulness means that no matter where we go, no matter what circumstances we face we do so in relationship with the One who created, loves, sustains, and redeems us, the One who “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
Jesus does not supersize our faith. It is not necessary. We live by faith not because we have enough faith but because we have faith, any faith, even mustard seed sized faith. That is all we need. Jesus believes that. So should we.
The question is not how much faith we have but, rather, how are we living the faith we do have. How is our faith, our relationship with Jesus, changing our lives, our relationships, the lives of others? If it is not, more of the same will surely make no difference. The mustard seed of faith is already planted within us. It is Christ himself. He has withheld from us nothing. We already have enough. We already are enough. We do not need more faith. We need more response to the faith, the Christ, the mustard seed, the relationship we already have.