6 October 2013 – Twenty-seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time

THE SUNDAY GOSPEL: THE TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

Luke 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.

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? 
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’? 
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? 
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

PASTOR’S REFLECTION by Father Mike Joly: TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

“Blocking God from blessing you”

In a boxing ring, to block a crippling punch from the opponent is something we train and train to do. On the battlefield, the knight’s shield is raised to block the fatal tip of a spear or sword. This too requires much training and skill. Blocking deadly things is a good thing! But blocking blessings is deadly; preventing God’s hand from outpouring is ridiculous; limiting God’s capacity to amaze us is really unfortunate.

There are three aspects which must come to bear on our desire to be blessed: the INTENTION to move a mountain, the HOPE of knowing with certainty that its moving is already secured by God, and the PERSISTENCE to constantly work toward the blessing. Taken together, these three open the flood gates of blessing. Why are we so very good at blocking all three of these? Why do we train so hard to block God’s power and grace from enriching our lives as though God were the opponent attempting to knock us out or to run us through with the spear? God’s will is that none of us is left empty and without being fulfilled as human beings.

So, do these three: Have the intention for the Kingdom; Know with certainty that God has already secured it and is the Divine Presence; and, Work to put every gift we’ve been given to work without letting up. The Kingdom of God is actually RELEASED and then REALIZED in the life of one such person. Do not let up in the work of “releasing” the power of God by failing to do what we were created to do.

“Increase our faith,” asked His disciples of Jesus in today’s Gospel passage (Luke 17:5). Jesus informs them that they need to first STOP WASTING what has been given them in the way of faith potential, and gift and ability. In our epistle (second letter from Paul to Timothy) St. Paul insists, “Stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands”  (2 Timothy 1:6).  They already had been given the gift of God validly. We have already been given the gift of God too. The gift must be stirred into flame if the Kingdom is to be released! Fathers and mothers, spouses and their kids, priests and religious only release the current of the Kingdom when we act for it and in it! We and the recipients  of Paul’s letter already have what it takes by our Creator. We must stop pretending that we have not; for, to think and act that way is blocking the release of God’s blessing in our lives. Our failure to join all of our personal resources to the God who gave them, and to put them into motion, is actually preventing the benefits of God’s rich abundance from entering into our picture. It sounds absurd, doesn’t it?

As a totally blind individual, I have questions asked of me repeatedly, regarding the blindness and my other senses. One such question goes like this: “Is it true that when you lose one sense all of the other senses get stronger?” My answer after living for the past forty-one years as a blind guy, “No. There is no miracle which endows the remaining four senses with some sort of super-human capability. I simply no longer have the ill-fated and false luxury of wasting the potential of my remaining senses.” Yes, wasting is no longer an option. I am forced into a situation where failure to have my remaining physical senses alert can cost me my life. It’s not magic but intention. In a simple way, I take what I have and I put it to work as best I can. In spite of my own frailty, I intend to glorify God in living this way; and no surprise, God has repeatedly blessed me, shown me His mercy, secured me in His love.

Do parents block blessings because of a failure to activate their own holy potential? It is not exactly breaking news that many, many parents choose the path of least resistance involving the spiritual rearing of their children. The will and the wisdom of a child or teen takes the steering wheel from the parents’ control. Of course, parents have a sense of love for the same children; yet,

  1. They either have no intention of moving the mountain which God makes possible, or
  2. they have become overwhelmed and discouraged, losing hope that God is the security and source of blessing for their own human frailty and what seems a daunting task to be spiritually formidable, or
  3. they are not willing to do the persistent work which releases God’s Kingdom into their family, stirring into flame, faith and love through discipline and gentleness.

Do not block God’s power to bless you! Blocking blessings is deadly. Do not be discouraged! God is your security and your joy! Work persistently to cooperate with God’s grace! Release the Kingdom! Be steadfast and unwavering, loving and merciful in your mission!