By Fr. Thiago, sx –
In listening to Jesus´ teaching, the disciples realize how wonderful it is, but at the same time, how challenging it is. Therefore, at the end, they don’t have anything else to ask the Lord, but: “Increase our faith.” Through the image of a mustard seed, Jesus answered them by saying that, actually faith is not a matter of quantity but of quality: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed…” At this point we should question ourselves: “What does faith mean?” In the Scriptures, faith is always presented as trust in God, who never abandons us, but always sustains his people.
This trust in God, as Jesus told us, gives us the power to say to a mulberry tree: “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey us. No, Jesus is not talking about magic or enchantment – the Gospel is not a Harry´s Potter story – but, Jesus is telling us that there is no situation where faith cannot show us the right direction, enlightening the way. Once, Martin Luther King affirmed: “Fear knocked at the door of my life. Faith opened the door. There was nobody.”
I have seen the sea of life full of mulberry trees. I have seen my parents going through hard moments in order to raise six children, and coming out with a great strength. I have seen missionaries living in very difficult conditions and situations, testifying with courage and love the Gospel of Jesus. I have seen couples struggling against the sickness of their children without losing heart or giving up to desperation. I have seen men and women hoping, even when there was no reason for hope, out of faith. All these people show me that, indeed, “the just one, because of his faith, shall live,” as the Lord says through the prophet Habakkuk in the first reading.
We should never forget that, the gift of faith as trust in God is to be lived and kept as trust in our brothers and sisters as well. This faith-trust in God and in each other leads us to acknowledge that we are “simply servants,” through whom God reaches out and touches the life of his people. The invitation of Saint Paul to Timothy, especially in this year of faith, is very precious even for us: we are invited “to stir into flame” the gift of faith which we have received from God. Through this wonderful gift, even though small like a mustard seed, the Lord reveals his greatness and his power in the world.
From the writings of Saint Guido
«It is not enough to believe, we must also live in compliance with the faith, refer to it in all our encounters, in all the circumstances of our life and discipline ourselves, not according to the fashions of the times or the demands of the disordered passions, but according to the teachings of faith, convinced that we are following the truth and practicing justice. The just man must live by faith because faith must shape all our actions just as blood flows to all the parts of our body.
(1924, 1 January, Parma – Cathedral, Homily on New Year’s Day)