Monday, October 31, 2016


Most of us have had the experience of attending a high school graduation ceremony, or maybe a different awards ceremony. Underclassmen watch the seniors receive their diploma, and many of them are honored with special awards recognizing their achievements during the past four years. Watching the older comrades reach the goal inspires the younger ones to keep on striving. All Saints' Day is like that for the Church.

What is life on earth if not a kind of school where we are supposed to learn wisdom, courage, and holiness? And heaven is kind of like an eternal awards banquet, filled with feasting and joy. Life on this earth is hard and for most people justice is not done on earth. Hundreds and thousands of holy men and women suffer through life's privations and challenges, glorifying God by their patience and heroic generosity, and we never hear anything about them.
But we hear non-stop reports about a few movie stars, politicians, and CEOs, many of whom who lead lives of corruption, self-indulgence and scandal. The bad guys seem to win pretty frequently here on earth, while the good guys suffer. Today, the Church reminds us of where the eternal rewards will actually go. What a relief to know that this beautiful but incomplete earthly life is duly crowned in the life to come!

We celebrate saints' days all throughout the liturgical calendar. But All Saints' Day reminds us of something that can get lost in the other saints' days. The most famous saints often led such extraordinary lives that it's hard for us to emulate them. It's easy to honor them, recognizing all that they did for Christ, and all that Christ did for them. But honoring the saints is not enough. We also need to emulate them. And this is where All Saints' Day comes in.
On Halloween we “dress up” in costumes and put on masks to “hide out,” to conceal who we really are. Originally the “disguises” worn on “All Hallows Eve” were supposed to fool the demons and other dark forces roaming the planet on that fateful night. The idea was that good Christians would be left alone by evil spirits if they dressed to look like they themselves were part of Satan’s army. Well, today’s feast is not a fooling feast, but a feast honoring the army of God.
Today we honor all of saintly men and women who have not been canonized by the Church, who are not famous saints, but who have nevertheless followed Christ heroically and taken their place in heaven. These are the saints that lived ordinary lives on the outside, and extraordinary lives on the inside. And God didn't overlook them. And there is no shortage of them. They make up a "great multitude, which no one could count," as St John puts it in the First Reading.
Most of us live ordinary lives on the outside. And may be some of us, because of that, think that we can't really live up to the high standard set by the famous saints who did miracles and lived dramatic lives. But today's Solemnity assures us that if we live each day as Christ would have us, striving to do God's will with all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves, then our lives, which look so ordinary on the outside, will be truly extraordinary on the inside.

One way we can tap into the encouragement that God offers us through the saints is by asking for their intercession. Since the very beginning of the Church, Christians have asked their older brothers and sisters who have already gone to the Father's house to pray for them.

Some non-Catholics quote the Bible to criticize it, pointing out that the New Testament says Jesus is the "only mediator" between God and man. It certainly does say that. But does that mean we can't pray for each other?  Certainly not. In James 5:16 we are commanded to "pray for one another" because "the fervent prayer of a righteous man is very powerful." And who is more righteous than the saints? Today we are reminded that all baptized Christians form one family in Jesus Christ. And just as good parents generously let the older children help and teach the younger children, God does the same for us.

As we honor our older brothers and sisters who are enjoying beatific vision and ask their intercession, we also need to strive to follow their path of heroic living by living the beatitudes in our lives for the sake of honoring Christ who died heroically for our salvation.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

OT XXXI [C]  Wis 11:22--12:2; 2 Thes 1:11--2:2. Lk 19:1- 10
There was a Zen school in Japan. They were training young boys in the discipline of meditation. The boys had been taken into seclusion. Among the boys there was one who kept stealing. So the boys finally put together a petition and brought the thief to the headmaster and stood there and said, "We are threatening right now to leave because we can't stand this kid any longer." With wisdom the Zen master approached them, looked at them, and said, "You are wise brothers. You are very wise. You are wise because you know the difference between right and wrong. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave." The story goes that a torrent of tears cleansed the face of that boy who had stolen, and the desire to steal was banished from him forever in that decisive moment.

The common theme of today’s readings is the benevolent and forgiving mercy of God for sinners and the response of repentance and conversion expected from us. 
In the first reading, the writer is attempting to boost the Faith of his fellow Jews by answering the question, "Why doesn’t God do away with   evil men?"  The answer is that, unlike men, God is benevolent toward all His creatures.  God's Providence for all His creatures shows that, in His strength, He can deal mercifully with all men. He “rebukes the offenders little by little,” “warns them of their sins” and reminds them to “abandon their wickedness. God continues to love us even when we do not love Him in return. 

In Luke ch.18, a rich ruler came to Jesus asking how he might be saved.  But he went away sad after learning that he would have to sacrifice his riches.  When the Apostles wondered if any man with possessions could be saved, Jesus assured them, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God" (18:18-27).  This account leads naturally to our Gospel lesson, the story of Zacchaeus, a rich man who found salvation when he surrendered himself to the grace of God.  The rich ruler was too attached to his possessions to give them to the poor.  The repentant Zacchaeus, on the other hand, voluntarily pledged to give half his possessions to the poor and to make four-fold restitution to any one he might have cheated.  

Zacchaeus, as chief tax-collector in Jericho (roughly equivalent to a district director of the IRS), was probably a man of much wealth and few friends. From the time of Julius Caesar, the options for collecting Rome’s taxes were auctioned off to the highest bidder in each municipality or county. In order to win the bid, the prospective tax collector would have had to pay to Rome, in advance, all the taxes due in his locale. Then, he would hire agents who would help in collecting the taxes so that he could recoup his initial investment, pay his agents and make a generous profit as well. Because the tax collectors extorted sizable amounts of interest in addition to the taxes fixed by Rome, they were despised by their own townspeople.  Since Zacchaeus had reached the top of his profession, he was the most hated man in the district, considered by the other Jews as a traitor, a thief and an outcast.  When Zacchaeus heard Jesus who also had Matthew a tax professional as his disciple was passing by Jericho, he thought to see this Rabbi very much. When Zacheaus was seeking to see Jesus, Jesus also was seeking to know Zacchaeus.
Sometimes we believe that we’re the ones looking for him, but the only reason we can even look for him is because he’s already looking for us. St John of the Cross said that if we’re seeking God, know that he is seeking us even more.
Jesus didn’t walk by that sycamore tree by accident: he’d been planning his encounter with Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus was mired in his sins, trapped in a selfishness he couldn’t escape. Jesus came to find him. 
Jesus didn’t only come to seek; he came to save. We can’t heal ourselves from sin. Whether it appears to be a terrible, glaring sin, or whether we think it’s a peccadillo, we can’t save ourselves. But Jesus can. And Zacchaeus wanted to celebrate that encounter by throwing a party for him. During the banquet, Zacchaeus made the solemn announcement of his repentance and committed himself to doing justice by the sharing of his wealth and the making of reparations. Zacchaeus did not make this offer to win Jesus' approval, but to show his gratitude. 
There is an old legend that says Zacchaeus went every day outside the city of Jericho carrying a bucket of water. One day, his wife followed him, wondering what this daily ritual was all about. She saw him stop at a certain sycamore tree. Zacchaeus poured his bucket of water on the tree's thirsty roots, and then stood there reverently looking up into the tree. It was a sacred place, for it was the place where his life was changed.
But unfortunately a lot of Christians can tell the day and the hour they first met Jesus Christ, but they have never taken this final step of letting the Living Christ rearrange the priorities of their lives.  Zacchaeus was ready to let Christ be the very center of his life. He was ready to let Christ send him back out into the world to continue our Lord's ministry of justice and compassion. His faith was now central to his whole being. Tradition says he became the first bishop of Caesarea.

Zacchaeus allowed himself to be found. Christ also asks us to let ourselves be found by him. One of the most powerful ways to do that is to wait for him at the confessional with a repentant heart.
When we go to confession, Jesus repeats the same words he said in Zacchaeus’s home: “Today salvation has come to this house.”
Let us remember that Jesus loves us in spite of our ugly thoughts, broken promises, sullied ideals, lack of prayer and Faith, resentments and lusts.  He will put us back on the straight road to Heaven.  We will become again true "sons and daughters of Abraham", If we stop hiding and allow him to find us. If we are short in our ego and get out to seek Jesus.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

OT XXX [C]: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk 18:9-14

A news reporter once asked Mother Teresa if she had ever been tempted to be proud.  Mother Theresa retorted with a smile, "Proud about what?"  The reporter replied, “Why, about the wonderful things you have been doing for the poorest of the poor!”  Then came her answer, "I never knew I had done anything, because it was God who worked in and through my Sisters and volunteers.”  True humility differentiates a saint from a sinner.  If we are proud of our talents, our family connections, our reputation, or our achievements in life, today’s Gospel tells us that we need Jesus to rid us of our pride and make us truly humble.
The main theme of today’s Gospel is that true humility must be the hallmark of our prayers. However, the central focus of today’s parable is not on prayer itself, but rather on pride, humility and the role of grace in our salvation. The first reading, taken from Sirach, is a perfect companion piece to the Gospel parable.  In one striking image from Sirach, the writer talks about "the prayer of the lowly, piercing the clouds to reach the unseen throne of God.”  Such prayers are heard because they come from the hearts of people who know how much they need God.  God did not hear the prayer of the Pharisee because he exalted himself.
The parable was mainly intended to convict the Pharisees who, on the one hand, proudly claimed they obeyed all the rules and regulations of the Jewish Law, while on the other hand, they ignored the Mosaic precepts of mercy and compassion.  The Pharisees were looked upon as devout, law-abiding citizens and models of righteousness.  But they were proud and self-righteous.  The tax collectors, on the other hand, were the most-hated group because they collected taxes for a foreign empire, and became rich by cheating people, often threatening them with false accusations.  In other words, they collaborated with the Romans and stole from the Jews.  Hence, they were considered by their fellow-Jews to be traitors, unclean and sinful.  The parable, however, shows that both men were sinners:  the difference was that the publican realized that he was, but the Pharisee did not.

The Pharisee stood in the very front section of the Temple, distancing himself from his inferiors, and his prayer was egotistical.  He looked upon himself as superior to other people, and listed all his pious acts. When he prayed he was telling the truth. When he said, “Lord, you’re lucky to have a guy like me, because I’m one of the best guys I know,” it was really true. He really was a wonderful guy.  The Jewish Law required fasting only on the Day of Atonement, but this Pharisee fasted twice a week, possibly, on Monday and Friday, the market days, when the largest possible audience would see his whitened face and disheveled clothing -- the external marks of his fasting.  Although he was required to tithe only on his agricultural produce (Dt 14:22; Nm 18:21), this Pharisee paid tithes on all his wealth.  He was sure that he had done all that the law of God required --and even more, thus creating a “surplus” of righteousness and making the Almighty his “debtor.”

The tax collector stood at the back of the Temple and would not even lift his eyes to God. He confessed his sins and humbly asked for God’s mercy:“Kyrie, eleison”- "O God, be merciful to me--a sinner."  His prayer was short, but to the purpose. His heartbroken, humble prayer won him acceptance before God.  His only virtue was his humility, which led him to repentance and prompted him to ask for mercy. 

It is a tragedy that those who justify themselves leave no room to receive grace. Morally they may be living exemplary lives, yet their self-justification leaves no room for the grace of God to take hold. God cannot give grace to them because they are not ready to receive it; they are too full.  If we are proud and complacent, there is not much room for God.  On the other hand, if we are truly humble we will find grace, mercy and peace.  There must be a space in our lives   for grace to enter and work its miracle. 
A little boy announced to his mother, "I'm like Goliath. I'm 9 feet tall." "Why do you say that?" asked his mother. "Well, I made a little ruler and measured myself with it; I'm 9 feet tall!" We all have a tendency to measure ourselves with our own measure rode. We perceive ourselves to be big fish because we are in a small pond. In the sea even the largest size fish looks small.
Human standards don't count. The only evaluation that counts is by an absolute standard! The righteousness of God Himself; with that measuring stick, we all come up short!

Mr. Pharisee about whom Jesus said "... trusted in himself that he was righteous and regarded others with contempt," so cleverly told us he came to church with one eye on himself, one eye on his neighbor, and no eye on God. Jesus said that even though this man went to church, he was not a part of the community for he was "standing by himself." And Jesus said pointedly that he was never forgiven by God, for "all who exalt themselves will be humbled." I guess we might say he was so self-conscious he lost his God-consciousness.
The second gentleman, however, the tax collector, "went down to his home justified." It seems that even though he was not satisfied with himself, God was.

So, from the text, which of these two men do I relate to in worship? I came to church today. When we leave let’s check our feelings to what happened?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

OT XXIX [C] Ex 17:8-13, II Tm 3:14--4:2,Lk 18:1-8

Once upon a time there was a lady who lived next door to an atheist. Every day, when she prayed, the atheist guy could hear her. He thought to himself, "She sure is crazy, praying all the time like that. Doesn't she know there is no GOD!" Many times while she was praying, he would go to her house and harass her, saying, "Lady, why do you pray all the time? Don't you know there is no GOD!" But she kept on praying.
One day, she ran out of groceries. As usual, she was praying to the Lord explaining her situation and thanking Him for what He was going to do. As usual, the atheist heard her praying and thought to himself, "Humph...I'll fix her."
He went to the grocery store, bought a whole bunch of groceries, took them to her house, dropped them off on the front porch, rang the door bell and then hid in the bushes to see what she would do. When she opened the door and saw the groceries, she began to praise the Lord with all her heart, jumping, singing, and shouting everywhere!
The atheist then jumped out of the bushes and told her, "You crazy old lady. God didn't buy you those groceries, I bought those groceries!' Well, she broke out and started running down the street, shouting and praising the Lord even more. When he finally caught her, he asked what her problem was... She said "I knew the Lord would provide me with some groceries, but I didn't know he was going to make the devil pay for them!"
Some people do not believe in the power of persistent prayer. They think prayer is meaningless and powerless. May be because they don’t see an immediate result or response to their prayers.
Today’s readings are mainly about perseverance in prayer, constancy in prayer and trust in God as we pray. In the first reading, Moses, after sending Joshua to fight against Amalek, is presented as making tireless intercession with constancy for the victory of Israel’s army. Both Moses and the widow in today’s Gospel story teach us how we should pray.
 By introducing the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow, Jesus emphasizes the “necessity of praying always and not losing heart.” Constancy in prayer is Faith in action. Jesus presents the widow in today’s Gospel as a model of the trust and tenacity with which his disciples are to pray. God is not compared to the unjust and insensitive judge, needing to be bribed or forced by our persistent prayers to give us what we need.  Jesus is asking us to persevere in prayer that opens our hearts and minds to God’s always available grace. 
Prayer does not seek to move God’s heart for what we want.  Prayer is the opening up of our own heart and spirit to what God wants for us.  God hears the cry of the people and God answers that cry speedily, although that does not seem to fit with our actual experience of unanswered prayers, even in our dire needs. How, then, does He answer? It is by His active presence in our lives. The truth is that God is intimately present in all the turmoil and terror of life, vindicating those who cry out in Faith. God is, in fact, with us, even before the cry for help leaves our mouth.
We should not expect to get whatever we pray for. This parable does not suggest that God writes a blank check, guaranteeing whatever we want whenever we want it in the form we ask for.  But we conveniently forget the fact that, often, a loving father has to refuse the request of a child, because he knows that what the child asks would hurt rather than help him (e.g., a knife). God is like that. He knows what to give, when to give and how to give it.

I heard a story which illustrates how we often confuse God's timing with ours. A country newspaper had been running a series of articles on the value of church attendance. One day, a letter to the editor was received in the newspaper office. It read, "Print this if you dare. I have been trying an experiment. I have a field of corn which I plowed on Sunday. I planted it on Sunday. I did all the cultivating on Sunday. I gathered the harvest on Sunday and hauled it to my barn on Sunday. I find that my harvest this October is just as great as any of my neighbors' who went to church on Sunday. So where was God all this time?" The editor printed the letter, but added his reply at the bottom. "Your mistake was in thinking that God always settles his accounts in October."
It is a mistake to think that God should act when and how we want him to act, according to our timetable rather than his. The fact that our vision is limited, finite, unable to see the end from the beginning, somehow escapes our mind.
Only God sees time whole, and, therefore, only God knows what is good for us in the long run. That is why Jesus said that we must never be discouraged in prayer. Instead we have to leave the answer to God’s decision saying, as he did in Gethsemane, “Thy will be done.”

In Priests for the Third Millennium, Cardinal Timothy Dolan observes that prayer must become like eating and breathing. We have to eat daily, not stock up on food on Monday, and then take off the rest of the week. Do we take ten deep breaths and say, “Good, that’s over for a while, I won’t have to breathe for a couple of hours?” Prayer is not a spare wheel that we take out in emergency but the steering wheel which we have our hands on all the time driving.

To conclude, How shall we pray every day? We need to combine formal prayers with action prayer: It is ideal that we start our prayers by reading from the Bible, especially the Psalms and the Gospels. Formal, memorized and liturgical prayers are also essential for the Christian prayer life. Personal prayer is of great importance in our life of prayer. Talking to God in our own words -- praising Him, thanking Him and presenting our needs before Him -- transforms our whole life into prayer. We should perfect our prayers by bringing ourselves into God’s presence during our work several times during the day and by offering all that we are, that we have and that we do to God. This will help us to bring all our successes and failures, joys and sorrows, highs and lows to God in prayer. Along with formal and memorized prayers, this type of prayer life enables us to pray always and pray with constancy and trusting perseverance. Any time we have distractions in prayer, bring that distracting matter actively into prayer, praying for that person or distracting situation or matter into our prayer. That way we can pray at all times as St.Paul says:  Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1Thes.5:16-18).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

OT XXVIII [C]: II Kgs 5:14-17; II Tm 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19
Winston Churchill loved to tell the story of the little boy who fell off a pier into deep ocean water. An older sailor, heedless of the great danger to himself, dove into the stormy water, struggled with the boy, and finally, exhausted, brought him to safety. Two days later the boy’s mother came with him to the same pier, seeking the sailor who rescued her son. Finding him, she asked, "You dove into the ocean to bring my boy out?" "I did," he replied. The mother quickly demanded, "Then where’s his hat?" In today’s Gospel Jesus tells the story of nine ungrateful lepers.
The central theme of today’s readings is gratitude - in particular, the expression of gratitude God expects from us. By describing Jesus' miraculous healing of the ten lepers from a physically devastating and socially isolating disease, today’s Gospel presents a God Who desires gratitude from us for the many blessings we receive from Him, and Who feels pain at our ingratitude.  Naaman, the Syrian Military General in the first reading, was an outcast not only because of his illness; he was also a non-Israelite. But he returned to thank the Prophet Elisha for the cure of his leprosy, and as a sign of his gratitude transferred his allegiance to the God of Israel. St. Paul, in the second reading, advises Timothy to be grateful to God even in his physical sufferings and amid the dangers associated with spreading the Word of God, because God will always be faithful to His people. Today’s Gospel story tells us of a single non-Jewish leper (a “Samaritan heretic”), who returned to thank Jesus for healing him, while the nine Jewish lepers went their way, perhaps under the false impression that healing was their right as God’s chosen people.  They did not seem to feel indebted to Jesus or to God for the singular favor they had received.  Instead, they hurried off to obtain a health certificate from the priests.  “Where are the other nine?” Jesus asked the Samaritan leper and the crowd.  “Did only one come back to say 'thank you?'” 
In both the Old Testament and the New Testaments, God laments over man’s ingratitude.  “Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth, for the LORD speaks: Sons have I raised and reared, but they have disowned me!  An ox knows its owner, and an ass, its master's manger; But Israel does not know, My people have not understood. They have forsaken the LORD, spurned the Holy One of Israel and apostatized” (Isaiah; 1: 2-4). 

St.Paul advises us: “Give thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father” (Ephesians 5: 20).“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3: 17). Gratitude is an attitude we need to develop in our life. 
" James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, is known as the Father of the American Constitution.  Madison was known for his spotless character. In his old age, the venerable ex-President suffered from many diseases, took a variety of medicines and managed to live a long life.  An old friend from the adjoining county of Albemarle sent him a box of vegetable pills and begged to be informed whether they helped him.  In due time Madison replied as follows: "My dear friend, I thank you very much for the box of pills.  I have taken them all, and while I cannot say that I am better since taking them, it is quite possible that I might have been worse if I had not taken them, and so I beg you to accept my sincere acknowledgments."

We allow the negatives of our lives to hide from ourselves the blessings we have received -- minor negatives like some health problems, financial worries, conflict with a neighbor or co-worker or spouse.    Besides, we are often thankful only when we compare ourselves with less fortunate people.  In times of need, we pray with desperate intensity; but as time passes we forget God.  Many of us fail to offer a grace before meals or allot a few minutes of the day for family prayer.  God gave us his only Son, but we seldom give Him a word of thanks.  Often we are ungrateful to our parents and consider them a nuisance, although in the past we were dependent on them for literally everything.  Hence, in the future, let us be filled with daily thanksgiving to God and to others for the countless gifts we have received.  Let us show our gratitude to our forgiving God by forgiving others, and to a loving God by radiating His love, mercy and compassion to others. May God give us an attitude of gratitude to acknowledge all the blessings we received from God and from others.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

OT XXVII -C Hb 1:2-3; 2:2-4; II Tm 1:6-8, 13-14; Lk 17:5-10

When author Laverne W. Hall was asked her definition of faith, she couched it in the following narrative. Summer sun and a lack of rain had left the fields parched and brown. As they tended their wilting crops, the townspeople worriedly searched the sky for any sign of relief. Days turned into arid weeks and still no rain came. The ministers of the local churches announced that there would be a special service to pray for rain on the following Saturday. They requested that everyone bring an object of Faith for inspiration. At the appointed hour, everyone turned out en masse, filling the town square with anxious faces and hopeful hearts. The ministers were touched to see the variety of objects clutched in prayerful hands; prayer books, Bibles, crosses, rosaries, etc. Just as the hour of prayer was concluding, and as if by some Divine cue, a soft rain began to fall. Cheers swept the crowd as they held their treasured objects high in gratitude and praise. From the middle of the crowd, one faith symbol seemed to overshadow all the others; a small nine-year-old child had brought an umbrella! Without speaking a word, the child enunciated that quality of authentic Faith which expresses itself in commitment. By bringing the umbrella, the child affirmed the fact that Faith is more than intellectual assent to a set of revealed truths or theological doctrines. (Patricia Datchuck Sánchez)

All three readings today speak a lot about "Faith” and how it works in our lives. The first reading defines Faith as trusting in God and living with fidelity to the Covenant. The second reading presents Faith as our acceptance of Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of God.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his Apostles that Faith allows us to share in God’s power, and, hence, even in small quantities, it enables Him to work miracles in our lives and in the lives of others. It is Faith which makes one just, putting him into right relation with God and neighbor. 
Using a master-servant parable, Jesus also teaches them that, for Faith to be effective, it must be linked with trust, loving obedience and total commitment — an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever He commands, even in tough times.
Habakkuk was a minor prophet who lived during the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and encouraged his fellow Jews to retain their Faith during this disaster. He interprets Faith as a persistent confidence in God's saving power.
Habakkuk called out to the Lord because of the violence that surrounded him. Destruction, violence, strife, contention, these had become the norm of the day. Habakkuk was frustrated because the Lord was not taking control of the situation. For the Prophet, who loved his country, it was a trial beyond his understanding. The situation in Jerusalem was a severe test of his faith. God promised to Abraham, decedents like the numerous stars of heaven, and   as the gains of sand in the desert. He promised to David an everlasting Kingdom. But the ravaging that was taking place in Jerusalem made them feel that these promises would never be fulfilled. The faith of the Prophet and the pious people was shaken. They cried to God and reminded Him of his promises. Then God assured him in a vision to hold on to his faith and all the promises would be fulfilled. “It comes slowly; wait, for it will come, without fail.”
Jesus did not ask the Apostles to move trees or mountains, but rather to forgive their repentant brothers and sisters.  Such a requirement demands Faith, and the Apostles responded by asking that their faith be increased to meet such a demanding challenge.  Jesus reminds them that it is not the greatness of their Faith, but rather the greatness of God’s power working through them that will move mountains (Mt 17:20; Mk 11:23). Forgiveness is a gift of God’s grace, activated through Faith.  When a person of Faith is trustingly receptive to God’s power, all things become possible — even moving mountains or forgiving bitter enemies. 

Like Prophet Habakkuk, Timothy and the Apostles, we too have to stand some tests in our life. We experience dark moments when everything goes wrong. We experience anguish and anxiety that all the promises seem to be shattered, and we feel being alienated and estranged. But at these moments God reassures us with His support as He did Prophet Habakkuk.

Whenever doubt and troubles overtake us Jesus is at our side reassuring us. But He wants that our faith is increased by serving others, not by being served. Faith is increased when we manifest our love towards others, our family, friends and strangers. Let’s put on our apron and wait on the Lord and others and manifest and strengthen our faith through service. If we feel that our faith is not strong enough, like the Apostles, let’s pray: Lord increase our faith.