Living and Walking by the Faith that never Fails Us
Readings: 1st: Hab 1:2-3. 2, 2-4; Ps: 94:1-9; 2nd: 2 Tim 1:6-8. 13-14; Gos: Lk 17: 5-19
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at:
On this 27th Sunday of ordinary time, the holy mother church invites us to reflect on one of the most important Christian and theological virtues – Faith. It is the foundation of our Christian life. Faith gives us a new vision and version of life.
Without faith, we see only the ugly and dark side of life. Without faith, we remain helpless and slaves to despair and hopelessness. Faith liberates us and helps us to see the power and love of God at work in our lives.
In the first reading of this Sunday, the church reminds us of this famous verse from the book of Habakkuk, “The just shall live by his faithfulness.” As human beings, at times in life, we find ourselves in the shoes of the prophet Habakkuk. We find ourselves helpless, and everything goes dark, and hope appears hopeless to us. It is part of the process of Christian growth and maturity.
The good news is that God will not fail us if we remain faithful during such moments. He will break his silence at his appropriate time to reassure us that he is there for us. Through these words, “The just shall live by his faithfulness, God encourages us to remain faithful in good deeds and actions. This faith in question is saving faith. The Just here is the one who still perseveres in good deeds. He is the one who still trusts in the saving power of God. He is the one who still prays to God.
In the second reading, Paul strikes the same note by admonishing us thus: “Fan into flame the gift that God gave you. Keep as your pattern the sound teaching you have heard from us, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” Here, the Apostle calls us to action. He awakens us to realize who we are. He reminds us of the power of God at work in us through the sound teachings we have received.
He encourages us to preserve the faith (the sound doctrine) we have received from God through the Holy Spirit and His apostles. Hence, this simply reminds us that our journey is a journey of faith. This faith must be constantly questioned and also called into action. We must live this faith through our steadfastness and perseverance. This faith must be demonstrated through actions because: “Faith without action is dead” (James 2:26).
So, the type of faith we are talking about here is not the type that is blind and always asleep. No, it is the faith that sees good opportunities and takes advantage of them. It is not like the faith that most of us preach today that suggests that we should go to sleep every second and expect God to assume our responsibilities and solve all our problems. On the contrary, it is faith that moves us into action.
In today’s gospel, the Apostles of Christ reminds us of what we should be praying for each day. That is, praying to Christ: “Lord increase our faith.” Their humility and acceptance of their lack equally remind us of the importance of faith in our Christian life and journey.
Each time I read this passage, I remember this short story. A rusty shield once said to the sun, “dazzle me,” and the sun responded: “Polish yourself, and I will dazzle you.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is always ready to increase our faith. However, we must humbly ask for it. Second, we must make the necessary efforts through our actions.
Finally, we need faith to persevere in good works. We need it to remain steadfast during difficult moments in life. We need more faith to trust in God’s will and judgment. So, we must humble ourselves each day to say: “Lord, increase our faith.”
Peace be with you all!