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.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
I have a number of friends who work as waiters and waitresses and serve in other positions in the restaurant business. I enjoy talking with them about their work and hearing the stories they tell about the sometimes insensitive behavior of restaurant patrons. It’s made me appreciate the hard work done by those who wait on tables. I’ve tried to remember that when I say thanks and leave tips.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus draws on the experience of those who provided service in his day. He speaks of servants who are just “doing their duty” for a master. They can’t expect some special treatment for doing what’s expected of them.
In his book The Word Alive, the late Scripture scholar Father Eugene Maly has a wonderful insight about this passage. Father Gene calls the parable “provocative.” We know that serving Jesus is something truly extraordinary— so how can it be mere duty? “The answer,” Father Gene says, “is faith. When one makes that total surrender to the Lord,” he says, “then all else follows ‘naturally.’ The extraordinary becomes ordinary. The unexpected becomes completely expected.” Through giving ourselves to the Lord we can find ourselves doing great things with the Spirit’s help. Look at your own life today and see if you agree!
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In the first reading (Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4), what is the situation the prophet Habakkuk is facing? Why does he cry out to God?
What is the response that he receives from God?
• Paul encourages Timothy, in this week's second reading (2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14), to “stir into flame the gift of God that you received.” What is the source of that gift Paul is referring to?
Paul encourages Timothy “not to be ashamed” of his testimony to the Lord. He wants Timothy to bear his share of hardship for the Gospel.
• In the Gospel, Jesus responds to the disciples who asked, “Increase our faith.” What is his response?
Jesus seems to encourage the disciples to do all that they have been told to do, like good servants, yet to be very humble about it, saying “We have done what we were obliged to do.” What does that mean?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• Did you know that you can actually grow mustard seed, like mentioned in this week's Gospel? Sprinkle some mustard seed—you can even use the kind from the grocery store—in the garden or in a pot and watch it grow. Before you plant it, though, look at its size and remember what the Gospel says about it.
• In the Gospel, Jesus talks about doing what we are obliged to do. This week, make an extra effort to help out around the house without being asked. Maybe even go above and beyond—just because.