First reading: Hb. 1:2–3, 2:2–4
How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.
Second reading: 2 Tm. 1:6–8, 13–14
Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
Gospel: Lk. 17:5–10
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “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.
“Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”
In other words
Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD (Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City)
Service, obedience, and duty are the fruits of a deep faith in God. In the Gospel today, the apostles asked our Lord to increase their faith. We serve him in relation to the faith we have in him as Lord and Savior. Our service is also an appreciation of his act of grace in saving us. Therefore, we should never go into a bargaining position with God. No matter what he has given us, we remain his servants. The true master is God who has lent us our lives, our families, our skills, and all our resources. He expects us to manage all these in a way that brings him honor.
Following Jesus has its privileges, but it also has its costs. His followers must serve him before all else. They must put their own interest last and the interests of Christ first. As we do our work in daily life in his name, are we as productive when our supervisors are gone as when they are looking over us? Do we try to anticipate their needs and desires, or do we wait until we are told what to do? Regarding our possessions, we must use these with the attitude of servants remembering that God is our master who owns all we have. He has loaned these to us temporarily for his glory and for service to others, caring deeply about the people we serve, being willing to sacrifice our own convenience to meet the needs of those we serve in his name.
When Jesus recalled the two greatest commandments regarding love of God and neighbor (Mt. 22:34–40), he was calling for agape love, a sustained and conscious choice to serve God and neighbor faithfully, without expecting anything in return. The Gospel challenges us to consider what God has entrusted to our care and what he expects us to do—to be salt of the Earth and light to the world. How does our faith influence the world as a whole, its structure, institutions, needs, and values? Does our service to God serve as a collective witness that is vibrant and strategic? We are called upon especially to help the weak, the oppressed, and the outcasts of society since what we do to them, we do to Christ. We need to discover how to live out our faith as God’s servants in visible ways, as the collective people of God in order to serve the poor truly before a watching world. We are not only to feed the hungry and clothe the naked; we have to preach the gospel to the poor.
Jesus has high regard for faithfulness. He challenges us to carry out our responsibilities as stewards in a faithful, diligent way. We need to perform our everyday work with the same reliable, faithful spirit, leaving the reward to the God who sees in secret. He calls us to follow a very different value system than that of the world, which always expects a return—what is in it for me? Instead of running after money or power or desire to be served, we serve God by being faithful stewards of our skills, jobs, time, wealth, mental capacities, physical bodies, and everything we have. Jesus expects us to faithfully live out our everyday lives with an eye towards his Second Coming. He will ask us then what we have done with our lives and reward us accordingly.