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If you have faith that of a mustard seed

Monday, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Wisdom 1:1-7 & Luke 
17:1-6

Reflection date: November 8, 2021

In today’s gospel, Jesus affirms that if we have faith that of mustard seed which means we will have God given the power to do impossible things for God and His people. St. Anselm says: “Faith seeking understanding.”

Faith is the greatest power in the universe because it is how the power of God is released into the human experience. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11: 6). We imagine it to be prayer being answered. That faith is what we exercise in moments of need so that God’s power and provision can be released into the situation. Of course, that is true but is that all there is to it?

A five-finger exercise of Faith: From the point of view of the Bible, we can see that Faith has a number of important elements which are interrelated and need to stay undivided. Faith cannot be fully operative if any of them is missing. Faith is like a hand with five fingers. If you write “Faith” across the palm, the fingers gather to give that firm grip which is life in action.

1. Faith is Grace: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Faith is the very basis of our relationship with the Father. We are not saved through our strength or righteousness but by the grace of God. Faith is how God’s grace becomes real within our hearts and lives. None of us has the strength to put our trust in the Lord. 

2. Faith is Truth: “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was entrusted to the saints.” Here there is something definite about this faith. It is not only important that we believe; it is important what we believe. The truth, which is the ground of our faith, encompasses God’s revelation to us in Jesus. 

3. Faith is a Gift: Faith is listed among the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is faith for specific occasions and need. Just as we are not born into the kingdom of God on our strength and merit, neither can we minister in the power of the kingdom apart from the gifts of grace. This gift of Faith opens up to capability and potential. 

4. Faith is Power: Faith is vital, dynamic and effective. In the gospels, Jesus often speaks of faith. Look at the results: people healed of diseases, people set free from bondage, miracles; people healed and set free through the power of faith, others filled with faith by the Holy Spirit is the most amazing circumstances. “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you now see and know was strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given complete healing to him, as you can all see” (Acts 3: 6).

5. Faith is Victory: Men of faith have always been those who have known the secret of the overthrow of the world’s system. Faith and obedience are closely linked. Faith enables us to believe God’s word and obedience enables us to fulfill it. Together they form an amazing platform of spiritual strength. This strength has enabled men of faith to undertake impossible things and to stand unachievable odds.

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘so shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead … Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God” (Romans.8: 18).

To be a Christian believer means to be born in faith and born into the faith. We are in the world right enough, but as Jesus said, we are not of it with regard to faith. It is this power and principle of life that separates us from the rest. The challenge of Jesus is that we should be true to our birthright and live by faith.

These five elements help us to understand the breadth and depth of what we are called to and release us from those petty views of faith, which is little more than a personal convenience given to us by God for our advantage.

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