October 2, 2016 27th Sunday in OrdinaryTime Fr Jim Miller

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time October 2, 2016

Reading 1 Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4

Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

  1. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Reading 2 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14

Alleluia 1 Pt 1:25

Gospel Lk 17:5-10

Homily— October 1 & 2, 2016           

The September 25 edition of Our Sunday Visitor had an election guide that began with a quote from the Pastoral Statement of the U. S. Catholic Bishops, 1998 “Living the Gospel of Life”.   It stated “Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas . . . But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’—the living house of God—then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right—the right to life.”

As we live out this Jubilee Year of Mercy and the United States enters into the 2016 election season, Americans face a myriad of choices between competing visions for our nation’s future. As Catholics, we are called by our faith to engage in this election. Pope Francis says that “a good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of one’s self so that those who govern can govern well.”

I encourage you to continue to study the issues and make the best choice you can in the voting booth.

 Faith is the theme in the sacred texts today. The prophet Habakkuk had grown frustrated with the people’s lack of faith.   He was assured that God hears prayers and never disappoints.  

In its literal rendering, the text of Habakkuk 2:2 reads: “so that he who runs may read.”   The prophet was to write the message in such bold letters that even someone passing by on the run could see it clearly and read it at a glance.   If Habakkuk followed God’s instructions to the letter, then his may have been one of the first billboards in the ancient world.

In response to people’s lack of patience with God and with their circumstances, God assured them, “The vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment and will not disappoint” (2:3).

The apostles demand that Jesus increase their faith. Jesus responds that even faith “the size of a mustard seed” is enough to do great things. The “unprofitable servants” of Jesus’ gospel teaching simply do what they are commanded—they do not go beyond normal expectations; they cannot uproot a mulberry tree. To go beyond expectations, we must risk doing the impossible and thereby become profitable servants. In this we align ourselves with God, become able to do what God does. Being aligned with God is faith.

Faith-filled persons take what they have—whether little or great—and act. If we wait until we think we have enough faith, we will never act. In the first example about the mulberry tree, Jesus is saying that even a little faith is enough to move this tree. The point about faith that Jesus makes is not that it be measured: active and fruitful faith is not a matter of “how much.” But we must use what we do have, because even a little bit gives us great power to accomplish God’s work. We have this power not on our own, but because we give ourselves over to God’s will and God’s ways. Faith is aligning ourselves with God so that we can act with God’s power—then we can do the seemingly impossible.

With God on our side we can do great things.