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Monday, 26 September 2016

Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Seventh (27th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: Having an Increased Faith in God

At a time in the history of the Israelites, there were so much tyranny, oppression and violence against the innocent. Before this time, various prophets have encouraged the people of Israel to remain steadfast in faith hoping that God would give them victory at the end. However, during the time of the prophet Habakkuk as we saw in the first reading (Hab. 1:2-3, 2:2-4), he was moved to ask God why He allowed injustice to triumph over the oppressed. From the response he got which we saw in the later part of the reading, it became clear that the Lord keeps secret how He rules the world and all He asks is that we remain faithful to Him since the upright will live by his faithfulness.

This reading brings to mind the problem of evil which several scholars have tried to examine. We wonder why there seems to be evil in a world created by a good God and why this evil also befalls good people. Like Habakkuk, we are tempted to ask God why He allows various forms of evil to befall the righteous while the wicked seems to flourish in all they do. Like the prophet and the people of Israel, we are also asked to remain faithful to God for the upright will live by his faithfulness. That God permits evil does not mean that He is not capable of eliminating evil (omnipotent) or that He is not good (benevolent).

Today we are invited not to focus our mind on why God permits evil for no one knows the mind of God, but to redirect our minds to what God demands of us in the face of evil. God demands an increased faith in Him despite the evil that surrounds us. The presence of evil around us threatens our faith in God either by provoking a sense of dereliction or enticing us to participate in evil. That is why faith in God assures us that God is still in charge as it also motivates us to avoid evil and do good. It also makes us conscious of our actions so as not to scandalize others as well as dispose us to forgive those who wrong us.

For this reason, the gospel reading (Luke 17:5-10) invites us to follow the examples of the apostles who prayed that their faith be increased. Aware that faith is a supernatural gift of God given for our good, we have to ask the Good Lord to increase our faith in Him. An increased faith in God does not imply developing new theologies about God but increasing our level of commitment in the things of God. That is why the second reading (2 Tim 1:6-8,13-14) urges us to follow the pattern of the doctrine which we have heard concerning faith and love in Christ Jesus. We have to preserve these deposits of faith we have received from our ancestors in the faith and try to live them out in our lives.

Beloved friends, today the society confronts us with a lot of alternatives which weaken our faith in God. For example, the society tries to convince us that we can produce children in the laboratory even when God does not intervene in our barrenness. What problem is currently challenging your faith in God? It may be bareness after several years of marriage, it may be unemployment after several years of graduation, it may be a financial difficulty or a family problem. Do not be despondent but have faith in God. Faith is measured not just by our level of conviction but by our level of commitment.  Be committed in your obligation to God and your faith would lift up that difficulty for you. Happy Sunday for God loves you.

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