Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Jaime L. WatersSeptember 23, 2022
Photo from Unsplash

In the first reading, the prophet Habakkuk expresses sadness and outrage over the suffering and violence in the world. He cries aloud asking why God has not intervened. The prophet’s powerful words likely resonate with us, as we witness much violence in the world today. The first reading empowers us to give voice to our concerns, and it also reminds us to seek divine solace, refuge and action as a way to solve the many problems we face. Our struggles with gun violence and the ongoing wars around the world are examples of the violence that plagues us today, and we must call out to God for help as we also exercise our power and influence to help eliminate violence.

“Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?” (Hab 1:3)

Liturgical day
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Readings
Hab 1:2-2:4, Ps 95, 2 Tm 1:6-14, Lk 17:5-10
Prayer

How do you pray when confronting evil?

What can you do to prevent violence in the world?

How can you strengthen your faith?

Reading the first reading and the Gospel in tandem can help us to draw insights from Luke’s Gospel. In the short Gospel reading, we encounter a statement that compares faith to a mustard seed and juxtaposes that with the size of a mulberry tree: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Jesus calls on his followers to recognize the power of their faith, a power that might be underappreciated or even ignored. Considering this in light of Habakkuk’s cry for divine help, the Gospel reminds us to have faith in God’s presence and in our own power to effect change. 

The Gospel reminds us to take an active role in addressing the suffering of the world, mindful of the challenges but committed to doing the work to fulfill the Gospel call to love.

The rest of the Gospel reading uses a problematic image to teach an important principle. As is common in Luke, the evangelist uses imagery of master and servant to help his community reflect on their relationship with God and one another. In employing the imagery, Luke notes expectations of servants: plowing, tending sheep in the field and preparing meals, all without expecting any thanks for their work. We should not minimize the difficulty of this language which has in mind servitude and enslavement. Luke uses the language to prepare the apostles for their mission. They should be prepared to work hard and fulfill the obligations of being a follower of Christ, in particular to care for the poor and vulnerable in the world. Their actions, while essential to the Gospel, might not garner praise or thanks.

As we reflect on the suffering that is in the world, today’s readings call us to approach these issues with an eye towards God and towards our own power and agency. Habakkuk models the honesty and frustration that might be given voice in our prayers, complaining and begging for God to intervene. We, similarly, should be intentional in seeking divine help and intervention. The Gospel reminds us to take an active role in addressing the suffering of the world, mindful of the challenges but committed to doing the work to fulfill the Gospel call to love.

The latest from america

Dec. 4, 2022, The Second Sunday of Advent: This Sunday’s readings challenge the hearer to surrender easy theological answers and false security in order to attain a more expansive sense of the kingdom of heaven. 
Victor Cancino, S.J.November 30, 2022
Nov. 27, 2022, The First Sunday of Advent: We have an opportunity for thoughtful reflection on the past and planning for what is on the horizon.
Victor Cancino, S.J.November 18, 2022
person holding white and black 'grateful' card
Nov. 20, 2022, The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe in Ordinary Time: We have an opportunity for thoughtful reflection on the past and planning for what is on the horizon.
Jaime L. WatersNovember 11, 2022
Nov. 13, 2022, the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Even in the midst of persecution, Jesus lived out a ministry rooted in love, and we are called to do the same.
Jaime L. WatersNovember 04, 2022