1986 Oct 5 – 27th Sun Ord Time (Bulletin Letters)
October 10, 1986
“HOW LONG, 0 LORD? I CRY FOR HELP BUT YOU DO NOT LISTEN!” Habakkuk _
“IF YOU HAD FAITH THE SIZE OF A MUSTARD SEED, YOU COULD SAY TO THIS SYCAMORE, ‘BE UPROOTED AND TRANSPLANTED INTO THE SEA, AND IT WOULD OBEY YOU.” Luke 17/5-6
The above verses at first glance seem unrelated, but upon a closer look one can see a real connection. The first verse comes from the Book of Habakkuk. It was written at one of the darkest moments in Israel’s history. The Northern Kingdom had long since fallen. The Babylonians had over-run the Southern Kingdom and had captured Jerusalem, exiled their King, their most prominent- leaders and skilled workers. A pro–Babylonian hierarchy replaced them and the Temple was defiled with Babylonian rituals. Habakkuk, a Temple attendant, is pleading with God to intervene directly on the side of Israel and set things right. God’ s response was one of assurance. God tells Habakkuk that he knows well the suffering his people are going through. All that is happening is in God’s plan and the time will come when truth and justice will be made known, but in the meantime, be patient, be faithful, learn to live with the ambiguity and quit seeking for a miracu-lous intervention.
In the Gospel of Luke the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. They have been with Jesus throughout his public ministry. He has worked great miracles in their midst, his teachings have stirred the hearts of many but now Jesus is telling them he must go on to Jerusalem for the final confrontation. A confrontation in which Jesus will be delivered into the hands of the Romans by his own Church leaders, convicted as a traitor, a rebel, a dangerous person and be put to death. The apostles naturally don’t want this to happen. They are understandably frightened by the prospect. Like Habakkuk, they want God to intervene directly. They want a Messiah who will set things right through divine intervention. The harsh reality of Jesus’ mission is too much for them. If it is faith that leads one to follow the Lord, the apostles want more of it, for the little they have will be sorely tested. Jesus assures them that with a faith the size of a mustard seed they can do great things. The apostles have only to be patient, be faithful, and learn to live with the ambiguity, quit seeking miraculous short cuts and follow him.
The challenge of a faithfulness ‘”the size of a mustard seed” is a crucial ingredient in today’s struggles for peace and justice because every indication points to a world that is growing less peaceful and less just everyday.
P.S. This weekend I will be hosting my mother. We are looking forward to the fall dinner. Feel free- to come up and visit with Mom. The same deal is on as was for her last visit. Twenty-five cents for every favorable comment and a dollar for every negative comment withheld.