THEME: FAITH – FOLLOWING THE LEAD OF GOD
READINGS: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4 / 2 Tim. 1:6-8, 13-14/ Luke 17:5-10
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
A young Italian man who lost his sight in his teens decided to travel to Africa. Initially, some family members and friends tried to discourage him from doing so. They gave reasons like: here in Italy you know your way round, but you are not familiar with Africa, and you do not have family and friends there to take you round. Besides, the roads and traffic there are not ‘blind-friendly’. However, convinced that he would be fine in Africa, he ignored the sentiments of his family and friends and travelled to Africa. In an interviewed on BBC radio, in 2013, the blind man expressed his great appreciation of the eagerness, kindness and patience of many Africans who made his movement around easy and very pleasant. Before his journey, he trusted he would find help in Africa to overcome those obstacles his family and friends mentioned; and he got more than he expected!
Faith in God is like that! We (who can hardly predict what would happen even tomorrow) are blind; and we express faith in God, when we trust that He, the All-seeing One, would safely lead us around the obstacles of life to our ultimate and happy destination: heaven. This is the message of faith that runs through the three readings. The first reading says: ‘the righteous shall live by his faith’ (Hab. 2:4). In the second reading, St. Paul admonished the young Timothy: ‘Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus’ (2 Tim. 1:14). And in the gospel reading, the Lord says that a little faith (like a mustard see) overcomes great obstacles or makes the impossible possible. The latter is what Jesus meant when He said that with faith one can command a tree to be uprooted and be planted in the sea (Lk. 17:5-6).
The Italian blind man had obstacles (roads and traffic unfriendly to the blind) to deal with. Similarly, in life, we may have some obstacles to our progress or some other kind of difficulties (e.g. sickness, no job, marital problems, etc.). However, as the blind man overcame his obstacles by trusting in his friendly guides, so we may overcome our obstacles or difficulties by trusting God, the most trustworthy Guide!
If overcoming our challenges or difficulties seems to take too long a time, let us be patient; for a blind person who does not know his destination should be patient as his guide leads him. Thus, in the first reading, God (the Supreme Guide), asked the prophet Habakkuk, who wanted a quick answer to his prayers, to be patient: ‘For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end – it will not fail. If seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.’
Beloved, let us have faith in God and patiently follow His lead, and even if we sometimes stumble, we shall eventually clear all our obstacles and reach our eternal destination. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis