Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 2, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4 / Ps 95 / 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14 / Lk 17:5-10
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Praying with all of you, as we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is such a great honor and privilege, for our presence here is an amazing expression of our faith. Some of our friends or acquaintances may ask why we need to go to church, when we could pray at home or practically anywhere. As we know and believe, God is everywhere.
If we say that we are here to listen to God’s words, they may ask, “Can you not just read the Bible at home, or even listen to the sacred scriptures on a CD while you are driving?” It’s more convenient.
Jesus also said: Where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in our midst. Yes, but we can also pray with the members of our family, pray with our friends, wherever we are, and Jesus, as He promised, will be there in our midst.
But we all know the reason why we are taking the time to come to church. Because, just like the early Christians, we follow Our Lord’s command: “Do this in memory of Me.” We celebrate the Mass together on the Lord’s day.
More importantly, we all believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord: body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. This is something we couldn’t get anywhere else, but only in the church during the Eucharistic celebration, or when we have a communion service.
A story is told about a Muslim who said to his Catholic friend: “If I believed what you believe, that God is really and truly present in that piece of bread, which you call ‘Eucharist,’ I would be in that church every single day of my life.”
But human as we are, we sometimes forget this great mystery. Just like the apostles, we need to ask: “Jesus, Lord, increase our faith.”
In response to His disciples’ request, He didn’t say, “Unless your faith is as big as the tallest mountains, you can’t say that you have faith at all.” No, He didn’t say that. In the gospel we have just heard, Jesus said to His disciples that all they need is faith the size of a mustard seed, and they’ll be able to do the impossible.
The good news is that Jesus also said, “Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” We are all gathered here together as members of God’s family, because we believe in the Lord’s promise. It also goes without saying that we need to do our part. Just as we couldn’t ask God to give us a healthy mind and healthy body without eating the right food and doing physical and mental exercises, we could not also ask our Lord to increase our faith without getting enough spiritual nourishment from the sacraments and without spiritual exercises like prayer, fasting, abstinence, sacrifice, among other things.
In the meantime, we need to continue reminding ourselves and each other that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, and that we should always have in mind Saint Paul’s words to Timothy, which we heard in the second reading: that the Lord God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but he gave us a spirit of love and power.