Friday, 1 October 2010

Increase our faith (Lk 17:5)

This Sunday's Gospel is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke (17:5-10). What struck me straight away, and it might have to do with my own journey, is the first verse: "The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith" (Lk 17:5). The Lords reply is quite interesting, as he gives the parable of the mustard seed, but my thoughts went out to the disciples and why they asked the favour.
It would seem that the apostles are very close to Jesus, they form part of the inner group traveling with Him all the time. They see the miracles He performs and listen to His teachings, both private and public. It is very easy to image that it would be very easy for them to believe... Personally I sometimes think, when Gods direction in our lives gets a bit clouded, that it would be so much easier to be one of the apostles, as it would all be so much easier...

But this is an example where the Gospel speaks to me personally, and it shows us that however clear God's role in our lives might be, there can always be an element of doubt. When I initially discovered God's active presence in my life I was overwhelmed by all the 'co-incidences' that happened. God seemed to be everywhere and at anytime, it was absolutely amazing. Maybe it was a bit like the transfiguration, but then without the fear of the event, everything was great...

But reality kicks in again, as it did it for the apostles on the mountain with Jesus, it was time to come down to the real world. Catholicism is not some-kind of a 'make all problems disappear' self-help solution. No, rather it points us to the way to make our life complete and to give it its full meaning, which can only be found in God.

God is always with us, and we know this by faith and experience (and sometimes reason). There might be times in which it is not that apparent, but God is still there. It is the memory of the times when our relationship seemed so vivid on which we can reflect when we feel like the prophet Habakkuk in the first reading: "How long, Lord, am I to cry for help while you will not listen;" (Hab 1:2).

Once the relationship with God matures it takes on a much deeper place in our being. It might not be directly sensible, but it is there. The fruits of a relationship with God, e.g. the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love, are always there. We notice a deep peace or contentment, a meaning in livf which was not there before. The apostles teach us that this is normal, the fact that we sometimes wish we had more faith. But we know that Jesus is as close, if not closer through the Holy Eucharist, to us as He was to them...

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