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“Faith is therefore not measured. To be a believer is not to have faith or to have it. To be a believer is to be, to become, to be on the way.”
Readings: Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
The whole Egospel of Saint Luke is a ascension to Jerusalem, a place where the founding event of the Christian faith will take place: the death resurrection of Christ. Along the way, Jesus Christ teaches us how to live as a Christian or rather how to be a Christian... Today it is perhaps one of the hardest evangelical: the cherished faith claims nothing. The believer cannot boast of his good works; he is only a useless slave (Greek translation of the Gospel). The cherished man must not demand any reward: his only joy is to serve, because the believer knows that he is loved for free by the one he serves: God... This God that we meet through the other, the others.
For many of our sisters and brothers, God seems absent from our lives and our daily lives. Every day, we witness tragedies, events, where injustice causes so much suffering... Where is God in all this? What's he doing? These questions are often asked; they are the lot of believers, but the answers are not clear. Even for the saints. We know today that even Mother Teresa doubted God, seeing the misery and great poverty of the people for whom she had dedicated her life.
In today's Gospel Saint Luke shows us that it was no easier to believe in the early days of Christianity: “The disciples said to the Lord, Increase faith in us! ”, as if faith were measured. The answer of Christ of the Gospel is disconcerting: “The Lord answered: Faith, if you had it as big as a mustard seed, you would say to this great tree: Get out and go to plant you in the sea; it would obey you.”
There are two lessons in this verse: 1) Faith, it takes very little to do great things and as proof, mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. 2) The sea is the symbol of the forces of evil and death; planting a tree in it is to bring forth good from evil, the life of death... That's the greatest thing to do.
In the Old Testament, in the 6th century BC, it was difficult to experience this absence of God. The prophet Habacuc in the first reading is protested that God will not intervene to stop the injustice: “How long, Lord, will I call you to help, and you do not hear, cry against violence, and you do not deliver!...? Before me plunder and violence; dispute and discord are broken” (Hc 1,2-3). Despite his doubts, the prophet does not fall short.
Faith is therefore not measured. To be a believer is not to have faith or to have it. To be a believer is to be, to become, to be on the way. This question of the apostles suggests that faith is something that one can have or lose, increase or decrease. For no one can have God”.
2. At a first reading of this Sunday's Gospel, one might feel humiliated by this statement. First, Jesus seems to accuse us of not having faith, and second, he seems to want to treat us even lower than servants. One might ask: Where is Jesus' Love for us? A theologian, Jean Debruynne replied: “If Jesus resumes the parable of the servant, it is precisely because the apostles with their matterialist spirit continue to see Jesus as the boss and they as the servants.
While for Jesus, we have not been hired to be servants. Just because we are good servants does not mean God loves us. God loves us because He is Love and that is enough. It's not our meerites that matter... Only the Love of which God loves us. Let's not imagine that the fulfillment of our duties can add to the Love of God. Who could pretend to add something to infinity? So let us stop saying: I have faith, I have less or I have more. Faith is not dosed, it is lived. So let's live! ”
Sisters and brothers, Today's Egospel carries an important message: We must learn, in life, not to feel indispensable.
Yes: like Jesus in relation to his Father and Father, “We are servants of any kind: we have done nothing but our duty” (Lk 17:10). This gospel puts us in front of what is the very heart of our faith: to imitate Jesus as a servant, gentle and humble in heart. Also imitate Mary, humble servant. Yes, by putting myself in the service of the Father, I collaborate in the salvation of the world, in my place in the Church, by putting my energies, my talents, in the service of God and my neighbour. This is where my reward really is, there is already a joy!
And later, after completing all we have to do, we could, as Jesus promises us in the Gospel of this Sunday: “Then you can eat and drink” (Lk 17:8b). Is it not the feast of heaven that we are promised? This is the ultimate reward given to us by Love, by that God who is only Love.
Gospel and Homily (Father Christophe Hermanowicz)
Orgue:At the Great Organ, Guy Didier
Artworks by A. Guilmant
Entry: 3rd Sonata - 1st movement: “Preludio”
Communion: 5th Sonata - 5th Movement: “Fugue”
Release: 4th Sonata: “Final”
The other homilies of Father Christophe Hermanowicz
Read also: THE FIP of the week
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