Homily  27th Sunday of Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
· Hab 1:2-3;2:2-4;
· Ps 95:1-2,6-9;
· 2 Tim 1:6-8,13-14
· Luke 17:5-10
The Righteous shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4)
The importance of faith, a supernatural gift from God, which enables us to believe him and in the teachings of the Church, is central in today’s readings. How do we remain faithful, trusting(emunah) in God’s plans, and believing in him, in the midst of hardship, threats, terrorism, war, joblessness, no shelter, no food, frustration, poverty, illnesses, temptations and all kinds of injustices, prevalent in our world today. For Habakkuk, the righteous, people like Abraham, Noah, Joseph etc, no matter what, shall live by faith. We are all invited to share in this righteousness. And we do have our personal stories when we feel God is not listening to us, or acting fast to assist us in our troubles.
Habakkuk of today’s 1st reading must have felt this way. In the midst of sufferings, threat of the Babylonian armies, hunger, deprivation of his people Habakkuk says to God, “O Lord I cry for help, but you are not listening. Actually, God was listening. It will only take faith, patience, and humility, righteousness to realize that God listens to us in a divine, and mysterious way! As was the case with Joseph and Mary, during her mysterious pregnancy, God spoke to Habakkuk in a vision, in a dream, that he was listening to his cry, prayer, lamentation, and to the plight of his people. The Babylonians will not reign forever.
In the 2nd reading, Paul also realize that it was nothing else, but the gift of faith from Christ Jesus that enabled him to move without shame from being a persecutor to a believer. It was the same faith, steadfastness in the love of the Gospel that sustained his confidence, trust, endurance, courage, strength and self-control to proudly bear his sufferings and hardships, including imprisonment throughout all his missionary journeys! With faith, we can bear our temporary sufferings, and carry our crosses to follow Christ!
And this is what Christ expects of his disciples in today’s Gospels. When the Apostles asks the Lord to increase their faith. Jesus says, yes, surely, if you have faith, even as little as the size of the mustard seed, everything is possible. With faith, you could say to that deep rooted mulberry tree be uprooted and be planted in the sea, and it will obey you.
It is all about faith, trusting in God in the face of dangers, in the face of terrorism today, in the face uncertainties, poverty, inequalities in our society; in the face of illnesses, and in the face of the loss of our loved ones. Sometimes, it is easily said, that done. Let us like Christ’s disciples, ask the Lord at this Mass, to “increase our faith,” and bless us with the steadfastness (emunah) of Habakkuk.