Reflection for Sunday, October 2, 2022: 27th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Cherney, Mike
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Today's first reading is a prophet's lament concerning an evil world; the text then jumps to the Lord's response which gives hope to patient faithful. Psalm 95 is a song of praise with a reminder to be more faithful than the Israelites were at Meribah where they demonstrated a lack of trust in God. The epistle is a reminder of God's gifts in the face of adversity. The Gospel passage has the apostles yearning for an increase in faith followed by Jesus' description of the role of a servant. As someone who is trained to doubt as an aspect of my profession, I had favored a rather literal reading of the apostles' call for an increase in faith. It made sense following the passage in which Jesus calls for repeated forgiveness when wronged. (I know that as a parent I was much more concerned with disciplining my children than offering repeated forgiveness when something was amiss.) The apostles' doubts and confusion made even more sense when the previous chapter of this Gospel contained the perplexing Parable of the Dishonest Steward. In doing a little research, I discovered that several scripture scholars suggest that the historical Greek texts imply that Jesus' response (If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, …) carries the tone that rather than lacking faith, faith is something that the apostles already have. These scholars see Jesus' words as a call to action rather than a chastisement. This has led me to a very different view of these verses. I also see this interpretation as consistent with the remainder of today's Gospel (and with today's other readings).|I feel the three readings make clear that although we are recipients of God's gifts, the path that we are on is not that of immediate gratification. All three readings outline the demands on discipleship. Jesus describes the model of the servant. This is very different from the sense of entitlement that pervades our society.|I might describe Justice as getting one's due, but what is my due? My expectations change when I acknowledge the many gifts that I have received. I consider myself blessed being the recipient of so much more than I feel that I deserve. The Gospel's reminder of my position as a servant helps me put things in perspective.|Dear Lord,|I often feel that I am the target of marketing that tells me what I want, what opinions I should hold, and what behaviors are acceptable. Like the apostles, I desire more faith, a fire that burns within. Habakkuk reminds me of the need for patience. Jesus reminds me of the path of dutiful service. St. Paul promises the Spirit. Help me to remember these things as I confront my doubts. Allow me to continue to progress knowing that Jesus' early disciples as well as modern saints, like Mother Theresa, felt that that needed more faith.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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