Saturday, October 06, 2007



OCTOBER 7, 2007

HABAKUK 1:2-3, 2:2-4
How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to
you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and
said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can
read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to
fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it
will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

2 TIMOTHY 1:6-8, 13-14
Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you
have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a
spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So
do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner
for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the
strength that comes from God. Take as your norm the sound words that
you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells
within us.

LUKE 17:5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." The Lord
replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say
to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it
would obey you. "Who among you would say to your servant who has just
come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, `Come here
immediately and take your place at table'? Would he not rather say to
him, `Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on
me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished'?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So
should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, `We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged
to do.'"

Today's gospel is crucial, because it focuses on faith, one of the
indispensables in Christian living. Jesus portrays faith best in his
parable of the Sower, the parable of the seed that fell, some on a
path, some on rock, some among thorns, some into good soil. In this
parable, Jesus describes his disciples in a single sentence: "Those
who listen to the word and hold on to it with a noble and generous
mind, these yield a crop through persistence." Faith begins as a
listening, but it does not end there. As St. Paul says: "Faith comes
from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of
Christ." But listening is not enough; listening should end in what
Paul calls "submission", what we might call a personal commitment to
God in Jesus Christ.

Jesus declares that such a commitment is very powerful. It is a
strange picture that Jesus draws. The disciples ask Jesus to give them
more faith. Jesus' response is: "If you have faith the size of a
mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree: 'Be uprooted and
planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." In point of fact, Jesus'
answer does not really meet the disciples' request. Jesus does not
tell them: "Ok. Here's some more faith for you." Jesus puts the
apostles on the spot. What is important is not the amount of faith but
the kind of faith. If it were no bigger than a grain of mustard seed,
it would still have unbelievable power. With even a little amount of
genuine faith, men and women who listen to Jesus' word and commit
themselves to him, can do things that would ordinarily be impossible
to do.

Now, what is this faith as we experience it within our religion? What
is this commitment to Jesus in concrete reality? In the Catholic
vision, it has two breath-taking aspects.

First, it is an intellectual reality, accepting what God has revealed
in Jesus. We accept them, not because the Church says so, but because
God has revealed them in Christ. It is on God's word that we can make
the most awesome declarations: "There is but one God in three divine
Persons; the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary; the wafer that
looks like bread, tastes like bread is not bread; it is Jesus Christ,
flesh and blood, soul and divinity.

These are highly important truths for a genuinely Catholic faith
because the Son of God took our flesh and died for us to tell us
something about God, about ourselves, about living and dying. But
faith is not simply something intellectual.

When the apostles begged Jesus: "Increase our faith", they were not
asking for a catechism or a list of doctrines to be accepted without
delay. They were not asking for the Creed that we say at Sunday Mass
after the homily. Nor was Jesus about to tell them what doctrines they
had to believe in order to enter the kingdom of God. What Peter and
Matthew and John wanted was an increase in trust. For faith in its
fullness is a surrender of our whole being. Giving intellectual assent
to the doctrines of our faith will not save us.

No one has ever reached eternal life simply by reciting, with
sincerity, each article of the Apostles' Creed. To believe means that
we yield everything, including our whole self to God. Here it is that
we risk all. Against all the odds, against all our fears, against all
the objections, against, in a sense, all reason, we utter a total
"yes" to God whose will in our regard we frequently find difficult to
understand. It is a total "yes" in darkness. Here belief involves
total trust. This kind of faith is seen in Abraham leaving country
and relatives, not knowing where he was to go, or what would happen to
him along the way, knowing only that God was calling him at the age of
75 to leave what he loved and settle where God alone knew.

This kind of faith is seen in Job crying out in the midst of his
torments: "Though God slay me, yet will I trust in him."

Do you want an extraordinary, an unexpected example? We have it in
Jesus himself. I am sure that many Catholics do not realize that Jesus
lived a life of faith.

We tend to see Jesus so absorbed in his Father, so protected by his
Father that we do not realize that in the night of his death,
everything fell away from him, even the security of the closeness of
God's love. In the Garden of Gethsemane while sweating blood, Jesus
cried out in anguish: "Father, if it be possible, let this chalice
pass me by, not my will but yours be done."

The point is this. For all that he was the Son of God, for all that he
had a unique relationship with his Father, Jesus, true God and true
man, died with faith in his Father, with hope of life forever.

That is why Jesus' last agonizing words from the cross are so
striking, so faith-filled: "Father, into your hands I entrust my
spirit." He died, trusting, trusting in a Father ever faithful.

The heart of faith consists in a total trust in God, our Father, who
loves us. It is a very humble reality, which, nevertheless, works the
impossible in us. In the darkness of our fears and hesitations, faith
is the little, indispensable light which guides us on the right road.

Faith is not a burden of obligations that would crush us but rather
the surplus of oxygen which we need so as not to die of suffocation in
a suffocating world.

We should not expect from faith that it give us better health, a
better-paid job, holidays all the year round.

Faith gives us far more that these trifles. Faith transforms our
insight and our heart, since it makes us see people and events the way
God sees them, and it gives us the certainty that God is with us to
make us live to the full forever.

We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Damaso Guevara
- Eligia G. Fernando
- Carlos Alfred Gascon
- Nicolas Bautista
- Bro. Romualdo Talavera
- Tom Diokno
- Ely
... for the personal intentions of:
- Guevara family
- San Juan de Dios Hospital
- Trinna and Noc
- Marie Charisse Gascon
... In Thanksgiving: successful operation of Catalina de Leon
... for the eternal repose of the souls of
- Celia de Leon
- Remberto, Estrella, Florence & Danilo
- Fred del Rosario
- Col Samuel Dumaliang, Sr.
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Monina F. Bernejo
- Wedding Anniversary: Carl & Grace Chua
... for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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