Readings: Hb 1:2-3,2:2-4; 2 Tim 1:6-8,13-14; Lk 17:5-10
The incredible power of faith, trust and patience are words that capture best the theme of this Sunday as we celebrate Respect Life Sunday. The first reading from the prophet Habakkuk serves as the key that unlocks the full message of the Gospel in which Jesus challenges us to have faith as small as the size of a mustard seed. In the first reading, Habakkuk struggles to understand God’s apparent silence in the face of ruin, misery and destruction. He therefore cries out to God for a solution to the evil in his society, but it seems that God is not listening. Today we join the prophet Habakkuk in asking God to intervene in facing our own civil society that denies the sanctity of human life while promoting a culture of death. We are just like Habakkuk asking God “how long Lord.” We need strong faith because God will eventually intervene. Habakkuk is told not to despair. God will ultimately 'transform evil into good. "The vision has its time; it will happen." We must never give up.
The Gospel reading starts with a genuine prayer of the apostles - Lord "increase our faith". The apostles realized that faith was a gift from God, for no one can earn or buy it. Without directly responding to the request of the apostles, Jesus uses the image of uprooting a tree through the incredible power of faith. The tree is an image of the status quo of violence and destruction of human life. With the smallest amount of faith – the size of a mustard seed - one can uproot a large tree like the mulberry tree (with long roots). Jesus exaggerates to make the point that genuine faith has incredible power. If we are faithfully united to Christ, we can be transformed into more effective instruments of the Lord for transforming the culture of death into a culture of life. We face what might seem to be an up-hill battle for human life, but we must be on the side of the Lord. As faithful disciples, we are challenged to make our choice: to serve Jesus Christ or to remain indifferent. So what is the message? If you have just been bereaved, in grief or deeply hurt and the wound is still raw; If your world seems to have been unraveled and turned upside down; If you have been praying for days and months and the Lord does not seem to listen; the message of today’s readings is for you! Soon and very soon the Lord will answer you. The response of the Lord to Habakkuk is your response. “the vision still has its time - it will not disappoint”. Be patient, help is on the way! Do not give up “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” Faith has incredible power of transforming situations in amazing ways.
©2016 John S. Mbinda