The readings for the four Sundays of October
emphasize the value of faith. And our Word for the month exhorts us: As
servants of God, we are to lead a life of active faith.
But what is faith? St. Paul in his Epistle
to the Hebrews explains that, “Faith is the confident assurance that
what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot
yet see” (Heb 11:1). It has been said that the starting point of
faith is in believing in God’s character; that He is who he says He is. And
the culminating point of faith is in believing in God’s promise that He will
do what He says He will. Faith then, is believing that God will fulfill His
promises even though we do not see those promises materializing yet, because
we trust in Him.
What then is active faith? Active faith is
when we “let God be the God of our lives”. It is when we allow God to have
a free hand in all aspects of our life and when we accept His will in all
circumstances. It is when God is the only meaning and His will is the
singular direction of who we are, what we do, and where we’re going.
brothers and sisters, to practice active faith is not easy. Because of our
human frailties, our spirits are weak and we falter. The Prophet Habakkuk,
seeing the “destruction and violence, the strife and discord”
(cf Hab 1:3b) in his time, complained to God, “How long, O Lord? I
cry for help but you do not listen!” (Hab 1:2a) Like Habakkuk, we
too are guilty of grumbling. At times, we ask our Lord: ‘Where were You
when I lost my job, our family’s only source of income?’ ‘How long do I
have to bear this debilitating illness?’, or ‘Why do you allow conflicts and
quarrels in our family and in our Community?’
times like these when we do not understand why events occur as they do and
when we have the audacity to question God’s will for us, let us pray and ask
our Lord, as the apostles did, to “increase our faith” (Lk
17:5). In the four Sundays of October, our Lord Jesus shows us how to gain
Gospel of the 27th week in ordinary time, Jesus teaches us an
important aspect of Christian servanthood: “When you have done all
you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done
what we were obliged to do’” (Lk 17:10). As workers in community,
we are to do what we are tasked to do without seeking any reward. We are to
work in God’s vineyard because of our desire to serve Him and show our love
for Him; and not for any personal gain or recognition. When God is our only
meaning in life and when His will is our singular direction, then we possess
active faith. When we feel downtrodden, let us take to heart our theme for
the 27th week: We lead a life of active faith when we serve
without expecting any reward.
Gospel for the 28th week in ordinary time, Jesus teaches us to
give thanks for all of God’s goodness: “’Has none but this foreigner
returned to give thanks to God?’ Then he said to him (the
Samaritan), ‘Stand up and go, your faith has saved you’” (Lk
17:18-19). As disciples of Christ, we are to be grateful to our Lord for
all that He does for us. We are to be thankful not only for the blessings
He showers upon us, but even for the difficulties we encounter in life.
When we accept God’s will in all aspects and circumstances of our life, then
we possess active faith. When we are burdened with trials in life, let us
always remember our theme for the 28th week: We lead a life of
active faith when we thank the Father at all times.
second reading for the 29th week in ordinary time, St. Paul
teaches us that salvation will be ours if we continually learn and live by
God’s Word in sacred scriptures: “Remain faithful to what you have
learned and believed … that from infancy you have known sacred scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ
Jesus” (2 Tim 3: 14-15). As disciples in the BLD Community, we
profess that we discern and are led by God’s Word. We are to be faithful
and persistent in the way we live the Word of God and in the way we proclaim
it to others. When we let God be the God of our life and become witnesses
to others of His love and salvation, then we possess active faith. When our
belief in God’s Word seems to waver, let us bear in mind our theme for the
29th week: We lead a life of active faith when we persist in
prayer and are faithful to the Word of God.
30th week of ordinary time, the psalmist teaches us to seek God’s
mercy every time we falter: “The Lord redeems the lives of his
servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him” (Ps 34:23).
Because of our human frailties, there are times when we are overcome with
doubt, and we allow doubts to threaten our faith. We fail to persist in
trusting that God will answer our prayers; or worse yet, when God’s answer
is contrary to what we expect, we complain and insist on getting our own
way. In times like these, we need to practice active faith. In humility,
let us acknowledge our sinfulness and ask God to forgive us for doubting Him
and his plans for us, keeping in mind our theme for the 30th
week: We lead a life of active faith when we acknowledge that we are
sinners in need of God’s mercy.
God, help us to cultivate that tiny seed of faith in us. Grant us the grace
to be steadfast, to believe in Your love for us and in Your promises. Give
us the active faith to let You be the God of all aspects and all
circumstances of our lives. And teach us to “Guard this rich trust
with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us” (2Tim 9:14).