Gospel Reflection for the 27th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – October 6th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
FIRST READING: Habakkuk :1:2-3; 2:2-4
How long, Lord, am I to cry for help
while you will not listen;
to cry ‘Oppression!’ in your ear
and you will not save?
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.
Then the Lord answered and said,
‘Write the vision down,
inscribe it on tablets to be easily read,
since this vision is for its own time only:
eager for its own fulfilment, it does not deceive;
if it comes slowly, wait,
for come it will, without fail.
‘See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights,
but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.’
SECOND READING: 2 Timothy 1:6-8. 13-14
That is why I am reminding you now 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. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God.
Keep as your pattern the sound teaching you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. You have been trusted to look after something precious; guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.
GOSPEL: Luke 17: 5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’.
The Lord replied, ‘Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.
‘Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, “Come and have your meal immediately”? Would he not be more likely to say, “Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards”? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty”.’
Luke 17: 5-10
Remember the bellows for the turf fire; or putting paper over the grate to get the fire going – this was fanning the flame – the picture Paul uses in the second reading. Fires grow from small sparks. In the gospel, Jesus speaks of the small seed becoming a big tree.
Faith has small beginnings like a fire and gets going or goes out. It grows by practice or goes out when not nourished.
Another image is of the fire in the turf grate which never went out. One day’s fire was fire lit from yesterday’s…. the turf fire was laid down at night, smouldered and then was re-lit from the same flame. Faith is from the faith of grandparents and parents and others. It goes on from generation to another. Person to person.
And the scent remains. The smell of the turf fire… a lovely memory. Faith has its own fragrance.
Thanks for Faith
Be grateful for faith and this fire of love. The centre of faith is love of God in his word and bread of life.
The first reading gives us hope…..God is saying, “I understand your sorrow and I will make things better.” The big problem is that “wait for it” part. God will make things better but not now.
We want faith now but it takes time. It comes, sometimes a bucketful or a teaspoon full. Give time each day to prayer, reading the gospel, helping the neighbour… then faith grows and the teaspoons fill a tablespoon and a bucket.
Let him feed us each day with faith….. fan the flame of love like we did with the fires each day.
Donal Neary SJ