Lord, increase our faith!


Lord, increase our faith!

I often find myself asking God for some favour when I’m in a tough situation. Don’t we all! The disciples ask the Lord to increase their faith. Perhaps they are feeling inadequate, or perhaps they want to be the kind of disciples that are worthy of their call. Whatever their motivation, Jesus’ response to them is telling. He doesn’t offer to increase their faith but challenges them to live the gift of faith they have been given by God.

Jesus reminds the disciples that if their faith were the size of a mustard seed, they could do wondrous things. Paul reminds Timothy of the same truth. What are we to make of the readings today?

Jesus isn’t telling the disciples they need a “larger seed” (more faith). In using the image of a mustard seed, he is reminding them that even such a small seed can produce amazing results – it bursts forth in the right conditions and produces a large plant. In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus says it produces a large tree in which even the birds of the air can build a home. Pretty amazing stuff from a seed so small! Paul reminds Timothy to rekindle the gift of faith. In the Jerusalem Bible translation, he says to “fan into a flame the gift of God…”. He implies that the gift of faith is a small ember that can produce a large flame.

As disciples of Jesus, we are challenged by this Sunday’s readings to use the gift we have been given. We don’t need to ask for more. Perhaps we need to look at the word faith as a verb rather than a noun. Faith is to be lived, to be active, alive. Paul reminds Timothy that we were not given “a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love”. We are called to build God’s Kingdom through living our faith, through acts of love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness. We are not called to be spectators, but rather to be people of action, living our faith as fully as possible in all our thoughts, words and actions. Jesus reminds us that even small actions done in faith can have incredible results, just as a small mustard seed can explode into a large plant. Do we believe that? Let our prayer be “Lord, help me live my faith”, trusting that it is enough..

By Richard Beaudette, OMI
Vocation Team