Reflection: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

 Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering


[1st Reading – Hab.1:2-3,2:2-4; Ps.94; 2nd Reading – 2Tim.1:6-8,13-14; Gospel – Lk.17:5-10]

It all started when the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith.  It is interesting to note that those who came up with the request to Jesus were his closer, more intimate ‘apostles’ and not the general ‘disciples’.  Therefore, the contents of today’s Gospel text of Jesus’ teaching is referring specifically to the ‘apostles’, those whom Jesus have chosen to be his closest followers and to whom, later, he also gave the power to continue what he started (which is the presence of God amongst his people).

On one side we have these twelve asking Jesus to increase their faith and on the other side we have Jesus who is almost literally telling them that rather than ‘increase’ their faith, they have to learn how to ‘have’ faith in the first place.  In other words, Jesus is saying they have almost no faith at all.  Using an example, Jesus tells them that even if their faith was as small as the size of a mustard seed, they could move trees.  But since their faith is even less than the size of a mustard seed, first of all they have to learn what to do to have faith and therefore to do what Jesus is saying.

Jesus speaks about the servant who returns from the field ‘after he has done what he was told’.  At this point Jesus asks the apostles if the Master would be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told.  Without waiting for an answer Jesus continues to tell them that like the servant, when they have done all they have been told, they just have to say: “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”  Thus, Jesus explains faith to the twelve apostles as a synonym to the relationship that exists between the Master and his servant.  Their faith should be like the attitude of the servant who is always ready to wait for the Master’s orders: always ready to listen to him, to obey his orders and to do what he asks of him.  In other words, their faith should be like the servant’s total dependence on his Master …  The servant has to do what his Master says.  Thus Jesus tells his apostles that ‘Faith’ is like the servants’ ‘awaiting’ of his Master’s orders.

So, there is really nothing to ‘add’ to increase one’s faith.  In faith one has to put on the attitude of the servant and be always ready to do the Master’s will. When this is done, the servant has to keep in mind that he has just obeyed his Master’s orders.  This is precisely what Jesus himself has done, becoming a living example of true faith and ready to do the Father’s will.

Sometimes we too feel the need to ask the Lord to increase our faith.  Jesus gives us the same answer that he gave to his apostles: it is the attitude that has to change and we have to have the same total dependence on our Master, God the Father.

“Lord, our faith is weak.  Give us the strength that we need to be able to let ourselves into the hands of the Father and let Him guide us in what we do.  Teach us to wait for his orders. Thank you Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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