Ordinary Time - Week 27c

Increase our Faith

(From Conversation with God, Fernandez Carvajal)

The liturgy this Sunday focuses on the virtue of faith. In the First Reading the Prophet Habakkuk complains to the Lord about the apparent triumph of evil over good. He laments the mistreatment of the chosen people by invaders who flaunt their scandalous behaviour: "How long Lord am I to cry for help while you will not listen? Why do you set injustice before me, why do you look on where there is tyranny? Outrage and violence, this is all I see, all is contention, and discord flourishes." The Lord answers the Prophet with a call to patience and hope. The day will come when the evil ones will be punished: "See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights, but the upright man will live by his faithfulness." Even when it seems that evil has triumphed, as if God did not exist, we need to remember that God and his followers will triumph in the end. Living by faith means realizing that God calls us to live as his children in every moment of the day. We must be patient and place our hope in him.

In the Second Reading, Saint Paul exhorts Timothy to remain firm in his vocation, to preach the truth without being inhibited by human respect: "I am reminding you to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God's gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control." Saint Thomas teaches that the grace of God is like a fire that loses its brilliance when the ashes are covered over. This is what happens when charity is almost smothered by lukewarmness or human respect. The fortitude needed to advance the Faith springs from the furnace of our interior life, which must never be allowed to go out. This is what we must ask from the Lord: Father, your love for us surpasses all our hopes and desires. Forgive our failings, keep us in your peace and lead us in the way of salvation. Lead us to seek beyond our reach and give us the courage to stand before your truth. Give us a strong faith so that we may overcome our defects and give proper testimony to others. There are men who have no faith who are sad and hesitant because of the emptiness of their existence, and exposed like weathercocks to ?changeable' circumstances. How different that is from our trusting life as Christians, which is cheerful, firm and solid, because we know and are absolutely convinced of our supernatural destiny! What inspiration we can derive from faith! With this source of energy we can overcome the obstacles of difficult circumstances or personal weaknesses.

Lord, increase our faith! What a wonderful prayer to repeat to the Lord many times a day! We also should practise this virtue frequently: whenever we find ourselves in need or in danger, when we come up against our weaknesses, when we are in pain, when we encounter difficulties, whenever we pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.