OCTOBER 2, 2022

Interesting that Jesus says we don’t need much faith – only the size of a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds in his time. Does he really mean this?

He seems to be saying that faith does not depend on us. It is a gift from God — which grows throughout our lives ‘fanned into a flame’, as in the second reading. We need to have confidence in the faith we have rather than always berating ourselves that it is little. In the Christian parish and community there is often more faith than we realise.

In a parish we have the people who serve the sick and the poor; those who pray a lot and those who worship; those who reflect on faith and question. There are the families where faith is expressed in many different ways. Every moment where we come in touch with the world beyond ourselves, whether directly religious or not, is a moment of faith.

We can trace the history of our own faith and remember personal moments that strengthened the faith. These can be varied – prayer, love, works of justice, the beauty of creation, times of illness and death, sacramental life. What is important is that they are personal moments between us and God, which are privileged times of the growth of the mustard seed of faith.

We need the faith community. We need to work together for the just world recognised in the first reading as the prophet ‘denounces violence, contention and discord’. We need the leadership of the community, clerical and lay, to point out ways of faith for our culture and our times, In this way God grows the mustard seed, which is the beginning of faith.

In the end faith grows in surprising ways. God is at work all the time, supporting our faith in varied and heartfelt ways.

Lord, I believe, strengthen my belief.

Donal Neary S.J.