BY: Fr Andrew Ekpenyong


1. Increase. At the individual level, just as we don’t need larger brains to increase our understanding, we probably don’t need “bigger” faith to have our great aspirations accomplished. This is suggested in today’s Gospel reading (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. In other words, if you have even a little faith, it is enough to do great things as long as you use that little faith. Do something with your faith. Say something based on your faith. Act on your faith. Scripture shows that when a little faith does justice, it increases. When a little faith acts in love, it increases. When a little faith prays, it grows. In the 1st reading (Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4), Habakkuk, with a little faith, prayed to God to intervene, to stop violence and destruction. Those in Ukraine, those in Florida, many of us around the world at this time of conflicts and natural disasters, share Habakkuk’s prayers. God’s response to Habakkuk is also God’s response to us: “the just one, because of his faith, shall live”, in spite of the violence and destruction. In the 2nd reading (2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14), Paul reminds Timothy to increase his faith by actually using the grace of ordination: “…stir into flame the gift of God”. Yes, act on your faith and it will increase. But what is faith?

2. Faith. Heb 11:1 says: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.” Yet, faith is only the beginning. 1 Cor 13:2 “And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.” And Gal 5:6 concludes nicely: “In Christ Jesus….what matters is faith working through love.” So faith moves mountains of hatred out of the way. Faith moves mulberry trees of love into where the fruits of love are needed. Faith performs miracles of love. No wonder our Lord’s miracles were miracles of love: feeding the hungry, healing the sick and telling the truth about God, about eternal life after this life.

3. Why Faith. Here’s a conversation from an imaginary 4D ultrasound scan (https://www.godvine.com/read/two-babies-talk-in-the-womb-faith-parable), illustrating the need for faith. In a mother’s womb were two babies: Baby 1 and Baby 2. Baby 1 asked the other: ‘Do you believe in life after delivery?’ Baby 2 replied, ‘Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.’ ‘Nonsense’ said Baby 1. ‘There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?’ Baby 2 said, ‘I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat with our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.’ Baby 1 replied, ‘That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.’ Baby 2 insisted, ‘Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.’ Baby 1 replied, ‘Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.’ ‘Well, I don’t know,’ said Baby 2, ‘but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.’ Baby 1 replied ‘Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists, then where is She now?’ Baby 2 said, ‘She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.’ Baby 1 said: ‘Well I don’t see Her, so it’s only logical that She doesn’t exist.’ To which Baby 2 replied, ‘Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.’

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