Monday 8th November Thirty Second Week Ordinary Time

Mass Scripture Readings for Today can be found here 
Extract From today's Gospel : 
"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.”
The history of spirituality tells us that we must learn to accept paradoxes, or we will never love anything properly.
The comment on the mustard seed growing in the sea  comes in response to a request from the Apostles, a request that doubtless we have made ourselves at many points in our lives: ‘Lord, increase our faith'. 
It is easy to symapthise with the Apostles.  
What must it have been like to be with Jesus in his public ministry ?
There are so many incidents when the disciples  seem completely out of their depth. 
and are vulnerable, stupid and so pathetically weak  in the light of the Jesus we encounter in the Gospel, who by comparison is so wise, so mysteriously powerful,  always several steps ahead, capable of confounding every one.

 It must have seemed to them, that Jesus was so full of faith, and that by comparison, they fell so far short. Their plea was one that everyone of us can relate to :  ‘Lord, increase our faith'.
But Jesus, characteristically, turns that request on its head. ‘If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry bush, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea," and it would obey you.' 
They are the smallest of all seeds, so the saying is ‘If you have even tiny faith, mustard-seed sized you, take it and use it and you can do extraordinary things.' 

 Sadly a common reply is ‘I wish', because this assertion seems to contradict our experience time and time again which is more like : One step forwards, three steps back.


I wonder if Jesus was getting exasperated  with the disciples . 
After all, why would anyone wish to say to a mulberry bush, ‘Be up-rooted and be planted in the sea'?

It seems silly, some kind of cheap trick.  Of course, it's absurd, the very notion of being ‘planted in the sea'.

I wonder whether Jesus was in fact saying to his anxious, worried disciples, who were probably trying just a little too hard, ‘relax'.

It's not about trying to summon up more and more faith; it's not as if a sudden injection by divine intervention, will mean  faith will become super -sized.

It's rather about remembering that in accepting the little we have  and by letting  the power of the Holy Spirit enter into us, there is a new reality, countless new possibilities, and a  world turned  profoundly up-side down and inside-out.



Ah yes but....., faith is a gift. 


So, the request ‘Increase our faith' maybe is saying,
‘Lord, make me more open to the signs you are showing me,  to the presence of your Spirit, to the  use of the gifts you have given me, to these upside-down, inside-out values of the Kingdom of God.

For Jesus says  that even if  faith is tiny, tiny as a mustard seed, already, I am able to see extra-ordinary things.

What more might I see, and accomplish, if I open up my stale perceptions of how to be in the world ?
 

I live and act and think in a way that forgets the upside-down, inside-out realities of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, and renewing work of the Holy Spirit.



So, ‘Lord increase my faith' - open again and more widely my perception and imagination to you. Stir up the gift you have given to me.
  Fill me with your spirit of  love and self-control and give me the imagination to see and hope and enable -


let me see all that your love can do - yes all that love can be - when ignited by the Spirit of God in this world in which I live.
God does not love us if we change; God loves us so  that we can change. 
As Richard Rohr says
 
"No matter what we do, God says, “That’s what I work with. That’s all I work with!”  
Even if it is the smallest seed, it is the mustard seed with which God does great things. 
Our life experiences, “good and bad alike,”  are the raw material that God uses."

"Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness." 

- Mother Teresa

1 comment:

deodate said...

Another wonderful post...reminds me of: "love God and do what you will"
Andie