This week, I had time to do some gardening which made me think of the gospel reading that is reflective of our society. Nowadays, society is so fast-paced that we lose sight of our faith which impedes our growth. This is especially true in meeting society’s expectations and results that tells us to choose between the secular versus our faith which proves to be a difficult decision at times. I had people tell me that they want immediacy, whether in school or life and I will them sometimes, that I cannot give you the results that you want. I have faith that Jesus will guide me and that I want to be happy also.
The gospel speaks about how God creates his kingdom in our midst by narrating to us the parable of the mustard seed. I always find the parable comforting as it shows that even the smallest and insignificant can be nurtured and rise to something greater.
“It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade” (Mark 4:26-34).
It has always crossed my mind the wonders of nature that a flower can bloom overnight which to me is a beautiful sign of our faith which can be nurtured as long as we are open and seek the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us. Through all our problems, I hope that I myself and others would find shade under the presence of Jesus and experience his love that will lift us from our lowliness and still keep us humble. The first reading emphasizes this by telling us, “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom” (Ezekiel 17:22-24).
Faith should be devoid of logic or reasoning as it is based on the trust that we have in Jesus and that sometimes we need to let go and just allow Jesus to work within us. Having a lack of faith can be increased as shown in the journey with Jesus’ disciples who stumble but eventually pray for their faith to be increased so that they can have the courage and zeal to spread the word of God. We have to follow in the footsteps of the disciples; we are the modern-day disciples who by our baptism have been called to proclaim the good news and be patient in doing so. It is not possible to change things overnight, but with prayers and determination, change can be seen.
We all are men with little faith as we struggle through everyday, and some people like me struggle more, but I am grateful that I am still growing in faith, nurturing that seed and waiting for it to bear fruit. My parents just came back from an overseas vacation and it was not how many attractions that they had been to that struck me. Rather, it was the plight of the homeless in San Francisco that caught my interest and I could not stop asking them questions about these people.
It is so sad that in developed nations, there are still people without homes and they have to live on the streets in filth and grime. I came across an article, “A decade of homelessness: Thousands in S.F. remain in crisis” about the plight of the homeless which I would like to share which highlights the daily struggles that these people deal with everyday. They do not know when their next meal would be and some are mentally unsound as nobody wants to help them because of fear. After reading the story, I am grateful for a house that I can return to everyday and pray for the homeless that Jesus will protect them and give them something that they can hold onto. I hope that the government will be able to do something to decrease the numbers and that change will be channelled into progress.
Jesus is my Rock and Saviour and even on days when I feel that I do not have faith, he is still patient and does not abandon me. Similar to the disciples, we must not lose faith but pray to increase our faith because we are all important, and are all called to be builders of the kingdom of God.
I would like to end this post with a quotation from, “Lord, increase our faith!” published in Catholic Exchange and there is a passage that explains the context of faith that helped me understand this virtue better. God Bless! as we continue our faith journey in experiencing and finding Jesus in every waking moment of our lives.
“The Church teaches that faith is one of the theological virtues. And a virtue, says St. Thomas Aquinas, is a habit, a power or capacity that gets stronger when it is exercised and atrophies when it is not. So faith is like a spiritual muscle. We were born with muscles. Some people choose to develop them; others do not. The way you develop them is to exercise them regularly and to do so against ever increasing resistance. More weight on the bar may mean pain and strain, but it ultimately leads to stronger muscles.”
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong