Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 2, 2016)

Salesian Perspective

Today’s Scripture readings ask us to look a little deeper into our faith. We just heard the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. He tells them that even a little faith has great power, because faith is ultimately a gift of God.

As Paul reminds Timothy, God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who dwells in us makes us strong, loving and wise. Our response to the Spirit’s presence within us is to stir that gift into a flame for living.

Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel reminds us that living out our faith commitment is our response to God’s gift. God has gifted us beyond anything we could expect. No matter how long and how well we serve the Lord, we do not earn our way to heaven. All we can do is be grateful and show our gratitude by faithful service.

But faith demands trust. If we believe all that Jesus has told us about our God, then we must learn to trust that God’s love for us is never-ending. God loves us even in our sinfulness and he sent Jesus among us as a sign of his love for us. Jesus died and rose so that you and I can share his new life, the life of God (grace). That sharing is a gift we are freely given because God loves us. We can do nothing to earn it. All we can do is be thankful and love in return.

Trusting in God’s love means that we must learn to see everything that happens to us as part of God’s plan for our salvation. Everything that happens in life ultimately is meant to bring us to eternal union with God, even the hardships of daily striving to live as Jesus taught us. That’s the message God delivers through the prophet Habakkuk. Nothing that we encounter in this life can alter God’s final purpose for us. The prophet encourages us to be patient; God’s love for us will become clear. The person who trusts in God and lives by faith will have life to the full.

May we have the faith and trust needed to see the events of each day as coming from God’s hand. They are leading us toward eternal union with him. God’s Spirit is always with us; we have nothing to fear. Let us stir into flame each day the gift God has given us. Let us be thankful and trust in his providence for us.

Rev. Michael S. Murray, OSFS, is the Executive Director of the De Sales Spirituality Center.