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Saturday, October 2, 2010

About The Power Of Faith

From the George Pal 1960 film, The Time Machine, starring Rod Taylor.
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]
Fantasize that you get into a time machine and traveled back into history 300 years, to the year 1710.  You've  brought with you a copy of this morning’s daily newspaper.  When you arrive back in 1710, a couple of people take the newspaper and try to read it. How much of it would they understand?

Most experts say that they probably wouldn’t understand enough to make sense of it. It would be like reading a foreign language, with words like: automobile, airplane, astronaut, expressway, supermarket, air conditioning, stock market, television, Internet, long-range nuclear missile.


Now, suppose the people asked you what
television is. You’d say it’s a way of seeing something as far away as China while it’s actually happening in that country.  Suppose the people asked you what a long-range nuclear missile is. You’d say it’s a way of firing a huge bullet in the United States and that can travel to any city in Russia and destroy it.

What do you think the people of 1710 would say to you? If those people had any sense at all, they’d say you were absolutely crazy. You were out of your mind. Because, anybody with any sense at all knows that you
can’t see something in China while it’s happening as you sit in your living room in New York.  Anybody with any sense at all knows that a bullet fired in the United States, no matter how big, can’t wipe out the entire city of Moscow.

The point of this little time-travel fantasy, is to show that what the people of 1710 considered senseless and impossible,  the people of 2010 consider matter-of-fact and commonplace.  What the people of one century never dreamed of, the people of another century consider ordinary.


There’s an important lesson here: about the power of faith. If we approach life with the attitude that something
is possible, we’ll probably accomplish it. On the other hand, if we approach life with the attitude that something is impossible, we’ll probably fail to accomplish it.

And, so, let’s fantasize now, that someone from 300 years in the future, from the year 2310, arrives today in a time machine.  
Suppose the person had a newspaper that contained no stories of violence, poverty, or wars between nations. Stories of a society with no abortion-on-demand, no drug addiction or alcoholism, no pornography and fornication, no greed.  Suppose the newspaper from 2310 contained only stories of love, prosperity, peace, and friendship.

What would you say?


If you had any sense at all, you’d say such a world is impossible. Such a world is totally unreal. You’d say the newspaper from 2310 was filled with propaganda to impress the people of 2010!  Why? Because anybody with any sense knows that where there are human beings, there will be violence and hostility.   Anybody with any sense knows that where there are human beings, there will be rich people and poor people, right? 


Wrong!


Wrong -- especially if you are a Christian!
“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.”
  • If we approach life with the attitude that nations are inherently violent and hostile, and that peace on earth is impossible, we will fail to achieve it.
  • If we approach life with the attitude that, at heart, people are uncaring and selfish, we’ll fail to achieve a society that is caring and selfless and respectful of all human life, unborn or born.
  • “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say ...” peace on earth is possible.  Love among people is possible.  Harmony among nations is possible. Abortion on demand can be eliminated.
And the reason these things are possible is that Our Lord Jesus Christ came among us and taught us how to live.
The reason they are possible is that Our Lord Jesus said they were possible. That’s what He meant when He taught us to pray, in the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say ...”
  These improvements to the human condition are possible, because Our Lord Jesus died to make them possible. The reason they are possible is that Our Lord Jesus rose from the dead to make them possible.  That’s what Jesus is trying to tell us in the  passage from Saint Luke's Gospel above.

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you."  
The good news of today’s Gospel is that, through faith, the power of God is at our disposal.  And with the power of God, nothing is impossible -- not even a world with no more wars or poverty or hatred.
  • It is all a matter of vision and faith and trust. 
  • It is a matter of REALLY believing Jesus when He says: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Oh, Loving Father, have mercy on us! If we were using just a tiny bit of the power which faith in Our Lord Jesus gives us, we would no longer be unprofitable servants!

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