Here is my homily for the weekend. God bless you!
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
October 1/2, 2022
Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Tim 1:6-8, 13-14; Lk 17:5-10
Some say it is a discouraging world in which we live. There seems to be destruction and violence before us always, strife and clamorous discord, as the prophet Habakkuk says. This is what seems to be the case if we believe the media nowadays. We put a lot of “faith” in such reports; many people believe them to be true. What we believe has almost become a political matter. How unfortunate this is!
In whom do you place your faith? To whom do you listen? Whom do you obey?
We put a lot of “faith” in what the world reports. This is interesting to me. Unless we have actually seen something with our own eyes, or heard it with our own ears, we simply trust what someone else says they saw or heard. When it comes to things of this world, we seem to put a lot of faith in worldly witnesses to worldly things. Yet, how much faith do we put in those who witness to us about things of God? Too little, I am afraid! Why is this? We are like doubting Thomas when it comes to things of God and faith, and we are like unthinking fools when it comes to things of the world.
Most of us have never seen Australia, but we believe it exists; better said, we know it exists. Why? Because someone whom we find credible told us that they were there and they described it to us. Many people have seen Australia; even though each has a slightly different description of the place, they all agree that the continent exists. They all insist that it isn’t a fiction or a fairy tale. This is interesting because the Gospel writers — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — each have a slightly different description of what they saw and heard, but they all agree that Jesus was the Son of God who came into this world, suffered, died, rose again and ascended into heaven, and the Holy Spirit has come down upon us. So, again, the question: Why do we believe people telling us about Australia even if they differ on details, but we don’t believe people telling us about things of God?
Habakkuk says that God has a vision. He tells us that God has revealed this plan. Habakkuk says this plan, this vision, can be read easily and he urges us to be patient.
St. Paul tells us that we should accept his testimony and the testimony of the twelve Apostles with an attitude of faith. He and the other Apostles described what they had seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and touched in Jesus. All those who have come after the original Apostles, i.e., all bishops, priests, and deacons, have continued to bear witness to what happened in Jesus and is happening now in the hearts and souls of men and women. They have done this faithfully, faithful to what the Apostles taught. That is why we preach. This is what is called in the Catholic Church Tradition, with a capital “T”. They continued to hand on to us what Jesus did, is doing, and will do for all of us. They did so because they found credible, believable, what those original Apostles taught. We who preach the Gospel take the Apostles at their word. Although we never have seen Jesus in the flesh, although we have never shook hands with the Lord or ate a meal with him, we know Jesus came into the world, lived, suffered, died, rose, and ascended for us, and we believe in how he told us we should live, i.e., the moral life.
If we don’t believe this we should not be preaching! No bishop, priest, or deacon is perfect. We are sinners in desperate need of God’s mercy and grace, but when it comes to matters of faith and morals, we bear witness to the truths of the faith.
St. Luke in the Gospel today reminds us that even the Apostles had to beg God for an increase of faith. I certainly must every day. Jesus reminds us that we need only faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. If only we could admit that God is our Master who loves us deeply, and that we are his servants! If only we would be humble enough! Maybe we should examine our consciences and see where we put our faith. We don’t need to see with our physical eyes the truths of God to know they are true. We just need to decide who it is in whom we will place our trust. Who do we find credible? Whom will we believe?
Way too many people nowadays believe in things told to them by the media (which may or may not be credible sources of information), but don’t really believe in what bishops, priests, and deacons proclaim. Too many have faith in the dishonest witness of the world and lack faith in the honest witness of God. Why is this the case? Because we are listening to the wrong sources of information.
He to whom we listen is he whom we will obey. To whom will you listen?
I believe the Apostles. I believe they taught the truth. I find them credible and because of that I give my life to proclaiming and preaching to you the truths of God. I have made a fundamental decision, a decision of faith, that God is more credible than the world, that the Gospel of Jesus is true, and has been faithfully handed on to us by the Church over the centuries. I was not there; I did not see, hear, taste, or touch Jesus, but I know as certainly as I know Australia exists, that God lives, that he sent his son to redeem us, and that he and the Holy Spirit now live among us — right here and now. I am convinced that Jesus taught us how to live, what to do and what not to do to get to heaven. I have been persuaded and I testify to it before you today!
O yes, faith is needed, but only faith in the size of a mustard seed. Perfection is not yet required just an attitude faith, and willingness to listen and obey. Yes, a fundamental decision must eventually be made: To whom will I listen and who will I believe? I pray we all decide well!