Sunday, October 07, 2007

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

It has been a most certainly a taxing week, the most taxing of the semester. However, things that must have been said and must have been done were done and done to the best of my ability.

It is a sad day when a person becomes the person he does not wish to be in a relationship, the jerk and the uncaring one that seems to always be there when a relationship tears itself into two separate beings once more. I had been on the opposite side of a friendship that stung when it was changed by the other. Now I am the one doing the stinging. And it hurts me so, but I know in the end the relationship needed to be put into the light of day and analyzed and discussed completely and openly between the two of us.

What hurts me the most is that I did it to a friend who I know was afflicted before, and I have thus continued to afflict now through my actions and thoughts. I thought I was strong enough. Strong enough to take away that affliction, but it was quick for me to see this past week that I could not take away this affliction. No, this affliction was far too buried down. The roots of past transgressions against her too firmly rooted into the heart of her.

Father Brian's homily today struck me so; it brought me to tears up after listening to it. It was speaking of her heart and its condition, though he did not know it. Amazingly enough, the homily has reverberated back to me even now, these hours afterward, simply because of the imagery used.

The homily focused on today's Gospel reading from Luke. He explained that the Lord had to use two individual parables because the first was not sufficient for the apostles understanding. The first tells of the power of faith, of its potency, but not of its purpose. That is why the one with the faith of a mustard seed cannot just say to the mulberry tree "be uprooted and planted in the sea." No, it has no purpose to it. It is in the second parable of the reading that we are given that purpose. Namely, we are to do as we are commanded by our Master and then say: "We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do."

It is here, too, that Father Brian turned the reading almost on its head. It was here that he related the mulberry tree to be those sins and transgressions so deeply rooted into one's heart. That through even that smallest amount of faith, that of the size of a mustard seed, can we through Christ and through following His Will as Christians be able to move the mulberry tree so deeply rooted in our hearts and to have it placed into the sea.

Now think of the sea as God's innumerable and unsurpassable love. It turns the parable even further, to its completion. Let us uproot those mulberry trees according to God's will.

From today's Gospel reading:
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.'"
-- Luke 17:5-10

My friend was told she was not a good Christian, essentially that she was of little faith. She was made inferior by their condemnation, by their reproach. And it hurts me so. Because if we look at today's readings, especially at the Gospel reading today, we can see the poor in spirit, those lacking in faith but not in desire to grow are truly the righteous ones.

As the first Beatitude says: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3) But if you read further into the Beatitudes, the eighth reverberates the first in this respect: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10) Both of their rewards is the kingdom of heaven, which is important. It shows that these two are equal importance, of equal worth to our attention. She is far from a bad Christian, but one seeking the holiness of God.

Furthermore, if we look into the root of the word "holy" in Hebrew we have "Qadash," which is, at its heart: "to be set apart." We are all called to be holy and to be good, but to be both is not the same. We can be holy which is good, but simply good is not necessarily holy. We must be set apart, and we are not to turn away the Other in their times of need.

I wanted her to hear the words I heard to today, to see the love I've felt today, but I have failed because I had the faith of the mustard seed—the power—but not the will—the purpose—to do fully the Will of the Master. I could not just say to the mulberry trees so deeply rooted in her heart—all that affliction—and say be uprooted and planted into the sea. And for that reason I am an unprofitable servant; I have done what I was obliged to do but failed by trying to do more than what I cannot do in my current state, which is love like God loves and do so fully with all of my heart.

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