Theme of the Sunday: A Faith That Works Miracles. The theme linking today’s three readings is faith. In the first, God, through the prophet Habakkuk, urges the people of Israel not to give up because of difficulties or situations that seem to shake their faith in God. In the gospel Jesus is telling us that faith is a very powerful force, capable of unhoped-for results. Faith is not something that gives us a right to reward. It is a gift that helps us to understand life and brings us happiness. We must thank God for it. At times we forget the gifts we have received and it is necessary to ‘fan the flame’ and once again become aware of our privileged situation and the responsibility that entails. This is what Paul is recommending to us in the second reading.
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4)
“The righteous shall live by his faith.”
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongs and look upon trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end — it will not lie. If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, but the righteous shall live by his faith.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 95:1 -2.6-7abc.7d-9 (R. 7d, 8a)
R/. O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.
Come, let us ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come into his presence,
giving thanks; let us hail him with a song of praise. R/.
O come; let us bow and bend low.
Let us kneel before the God who made us,
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand. R/.
O that today you would listen to his voice!
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your forebears put me to the test;
when they tried rue, though they saw my work.” R/.
A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6-5. 13- 14)
“Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord.”
Beloved: I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but take your share of suffering for the Gospel in the power of God. Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA 1 Peter 1:25
Alleluia. The word of the Lord abides for ever; that word is the good news which was preached to you. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 17:5-10)
“If you had faith!”
At that time: The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “Will any one of you, who has a servant ploughing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and put on your apron and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterwards you shall eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.”’
The Gospel of the Lord.
“We are unworthy servants; we have only done what we are supposed to do.” Man wants affirmation and frowns if it does not come. In life, as we grow spiritually, we must learn how to shift our attention from ourselves to God or others. Attention to self makes one the centre of all things. The tendency is to allude to the following: my work; my talent; my house; my person; my wealth; my intelligence; my achievements etc. when we succeed in proclaiming the ‘my litany’, we find it hard to appreciate God, who gives us opportunities to serve him through the gifts and favours he bestows. Again, when misfortunes come to challenge our faith, we easily lose focus; we get disappointed and slacken in our belief. Prophet Habakkuk warns: “For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end; it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not delay” (Habk. 2:2-4). This can only happen smoothly for someone who has God at the centre and not oneself at the centre.
PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL
Celebrant: Confident that God hears the prayers we make in faith, let us pray in Jesus’ name:
For our Church and parish community, that we may seek to be servants of the poor, the lost, and the defenceless: let us pray to the Lord.
For Pope, Bishop, Father, and for all bishops, priests, and deacons, that they may teach and share with all God’s people the “rich deposit of faith”: let us pray to the Lord.
For the nations and peoples of the world, that the peace and justice of God may overcome violence, oppression, and hatred: let us pray to the Lord.
For parents, teachers, counsellors, and educators, that they may share with their children and students God’s vision that “will not disappoint”: let us pray to the Lord.
For those in pain, for those who have given up hope, especially the addicted, the homeless, and the imprisoned, that they may possess the faith of the “mustard seed” enabling them to rebuild their lives: let us pray to the Lord.
For the deceased members of our families and community, that they may live forever in the light of God’s love: let us pray to the Lord.
For the prayers we now make in the silence of our hearts:
Gracious Father, you have given us life and hope for no other reason than your great love for us.
May this realization inspire us in every moment of our lives to be your faithful servants by being servants to one another. Hear these prayers we offer to you in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.