BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula



(Habakkuk 1:2-3;2:2-4, 2 Timothy 1:6-8.13-14, Luke 17:5-10)

Different experiences of life lead many people away from God. Their faith diminishes. In their life, God becomes secondary. Some of these experiences could be hardships, unhealthy attachment to wealth or material things, unhealthy relationships, uncontrolled love for money, political power, loss of trust in men or women of God, etc. These and many others diminish people’s faith. They stop seeing the benefit of belonging to a church. When this happens, we immediately see them hastening to pursue other things rather than the things of God.

St. Paul, as he writes to Timothy in the second reading, considers himself “a prisoner of Christ.” In other words, regardless of what he has gone through as an apostle, he still considers himself a servant of Christ. He has kept his faith. As an elder, he also encourages Timothy to remain rooted in Christ. He asks him to guard the truth which has been entrusted to him by the Holy Spirit. St. Paul understands the challenges that come with being an apostle. He knows that Timothy is already having a tough time. He says, “Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, …but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God.” Timothy’s faith is shaky at this moment. Now St. Paul is encouraging him to involve God in the experiences of his life, especially in his apostolate. In the first reading, Habakkuk is lamenting over the ruins of his own life. “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear?” His faith is almost on the verge of collapse. He is getting hopeless by the minute. “Why do you make me see wrongs and look upon trouble?” so he laments. However, even in this situation, Habakkuk acknowledges that it is only God that can intervene and make his life right. He expresses his faith in God amid the storms of life. His help can only come from God. And so God answers him. He hears his cry. This encourages us to appreciate that even though our situations may not be different from those of Habakkuk and Timothy, there is God our Father who listens to our cries. We should, therefore, demonstrate courage always. Like St. Paul writes to Timothy, what we have within us is not the spirit of timidity, but power. This demonstration is a profound mark of faith.

Regardless of what we go through, our prayer should always be, like that of the disciples of Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith!” Jesus tells us that with faith we can do a lot of things. “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, ‘be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” We should always pray this prayer with a sincere heart. The Lord always listens. He will increase our faith.

Anything that looks impossible is possible if we truly believe. We should not give up on our faith on account of anything; not troubles, not wealth, not earthly power, not anything. Whatever we have and go through can be used as a means to get to God. Through our difficult times, God wants to demonstrate to the world that he can still be trusted. Timothy was having challenges in his apostolate. Habakkuk too was facing hardships in his prophetic ministry. But these two never strayed from the face of God. They held on. We too, as followers of Christ today, have our dry moments; moments when nothing makes sense anymore and we feel like calling it quits. Sometimes we don’t feel the motivation of going to church anymore for one reason or another. Some bad things happen to us that make us question the existence of God. We feel disappointed. During these moments let us always look up to God and say, “Lord, increase our faith.” In fact, these moments can be a means to demonstrate to the world the immensity of God. Let us testify to the world how we met God in the middle of the storms and how he made us strong.

Fr. Arthur Ntembula

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