Mission Society of the Philippines


27th Sunday C

AS THE apostles were approaching Jerusalem, they have felt the opposition to the mission of Jesus. They seem to be hopeless at this point. They must have realized how difficult it is to follow Jesus faithfully during this critical moment. Thus, they ask a favor from Jesus.
Firstly, the disciples’ request to Jesus is to increase their faith. It suggests that the disciples have already the faith, but only little. This faith is being in danger or is being weakened in the midst of the Jews’ opposition to the mission of Jesus. And they beg Jesus to increase their faith. 
Now, our faith has never been that big or great from the first moment we received it. We, believers, have received this faith when we were baptized. This faith started little and it grows to greater adequacy. When the disciples made this request to Jesus, they have acknowledged that Jesus can do something to their little faith. Our faith can grow through grace because it is a gift of God. But our striving and effort can contribute as well to its growth. Like, for instance, reading the Word of God more regularly can make our faith grow. Or if we are consistent in our prayer life, this faith can also grow.
Second, the reply of Jesus is also worth reflecting. Jesus stresses the power of the smallest amount of faith and he uses the image of the tiny mustard seed. I have seen a mustard seed during my visit in the Holy Land. Indeed, it is very small that I could not imagine this seed can transform into a shrub or a tree, if you will. The point of Jesus here is that: a faith which is deep-rooted can attain the impossible. We can see this kind of faith from people who pray in the Churches and shrines. We see the faces of the poor people when they pray, and that they bring with them this deep-rooted faith. This is a faith that can move mountains.
Thirdly, let us reflect on the second part of the gospel wherein Jesus gave a teaching on servanthood or service. St James, in his Letter, has taught us the inseparability of faith and good works. Here, in this gospel, we are shown the relationship between faith and service. The faith of Jesus is being seen by his total trust and dependence on the Father, as well as on doing the will of the Father. 
Jesus wants his disciples to do the same. Our faith tells us to love God and others. This love can be found in service because service is love-in-action. As servants, we simply do what is expected of us. However, our human tendency is to expect a reward from the service we usually render. Spiritually speaking, we may think of a better reward in the afterlife, in the kingdom of God. But Jesus clarifies that we should not be motivated by the reward. The reward should not be the motivating factor. Rather, our service should be motivated by sheer faithfulness. As Jesus would tell us, we are simply God’s servants. Thus, we simply do what we are obliged to do. And that is we mean by being faithful or faithfulness.

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