August 12, 2017 – Saturday in the 18th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Jane Frances de Chantal (January 28 – December 13, 1641)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Deuteronomy 6:4-13 – Psalm 18- Matthew 17:14-20

“Mustard Seed Faith”

“Amen I say to you: if you had faith the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (today’s Gospel)

I remember seeing a cartoon at the time that Russia had just sent “Sputnic” into orbit which depicted the voice of God coming from the clouds: “Oh, no! They god out! What do we do now?”

All joking aside, it implies the reality of the last part of the quote above, “Nothing will be impossible for you!”

 It makes me think of a time when I was walking across the campus of Arizona State University with a young, charismatic student. We were about to pass by one of the large fountains where the wind was blowing the water over our walkway. We were talking about “mustard seed faith” and the young student told me, “I have faith like a mustard seed and I believe that I can say to this fountain, ‘back! Away from our path’ and it will be so!”

My response to the student was: “What does that prove?”

So, here we are, once again trying to figure out what it really means to have “mustard seed faith?” Is it just for show so that we can be proud that we have God on our side? All I can hear are the words of Jesus, “If you want to be great in the Kingdom of God seek to be the servant of all.”

In today’s Gospel all Jesus says to the possessed boy is, “Come out of him!”

I remember a prayer group praying fervently for a women who was dying of cancer. After a time they rejoiced that she was healed! Praise God! But some time later she did die but one person in the prayer group said, “Oh. We believe that God healed her of the cancer. She just died of something else!” That doesn’t give me “mustard seed faith!”

So, where do we go from here? Are we to think of God as some kind of “lottery boss?” Some win. Some lose?

I can’t help but think that none of us chooses the time of our birth. And none of us chooses the manner of our death. We are given 70 years or 80 if we are strong. What we do with the years that we are given is up to us. God has given each of us various gifts. Not everyone the same. Our “mustard seed faith” should allow us to use whatever gifts we are given to lift the burden off someone’s shoulders; to help another see more clearly; to take care of the widow and orphan. Forget about trying to control the spray from a fountain. There are more important mountains to move than that! Let us pray, “Lord. Help me to see your presence all around me and- just for today – to bring that hope to someone in dispair!”

That’s the kind of ‘mustard seed faith’ that we need to have. Amen!

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