The story is told about a preacher who asked an actor how come he connected with his audience quite well. His response was: “That’s because I act as if I believe in what I say, while you preach as if you do not believe what you preach.”
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 17, 5-10), Jesus tells His disciples that faith, no matter how small like a mustard seed, is powerful, if it is deep, sincere and real. Like the disciples, we pray today: “Lord, increase our faith!” We must learn to believe, trust and rely on God more.
Today, there are preachers who are aggressive and loud like empty clanging cymbals. On the other hand, there are dry and lifeless preachers devoid of enthusiasm and conviction. Judgment aside, what we all need is to really listen hard to our Master in prayer, and allow Him to speak to us, and instruct us what and how to preach and say. Only with deep and real faith can we really communicate God’s presence and love.
What each of us needs to be reminded of again and again is that we have a Master whom we serve and obey. May we not fall into the trap of entitlement and compensation as we go about doing God’s work. “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”
Lord, increase our faith! Help us to believe more, and doubt less; trust more, and worry less; thank more, and complain less; smile more, and frown less; venture more, and fear less. Amen!
I turned 66 last Oct. 1. Last year, as I was going through my cancer journey, I didn’t even know if I’d get to be 65. I thank God for the medical team that helped me in my journey, the people who prayed with and for me, and above all, the faith that has been implanted in me that gave me courage, hope and joy through it all.
Last Sept. 28 at the Philippine International Convention Center, I gave a talk for “Silver Linings 2019,” organized by Cancer Coalition Philippines and ICanServe Foundation. I shared the importance of faith in dealing with cancer, or any sickness, for that matter. Faith does help in the healing of our body and our souls.
October is the month of the Holy Rosary, which is a prayer based on simple, childlike faith. Mama Mary was a woman of faith, with simple spirituality. May we learn to be more simple, humble, trusting and joyful in our journey to God’s heart.
The statue of St. Ezekiel Moreno in our Mission House chapel continues to shed tears and perspiration. It is my simple faith that this Spanish saint who lived and worked in the Philippines for 15 years (1870-1885), and who died of cancer on Aug. 19, 1906, helped in the healing of my lung cancer.
It is also my simple faith that he continues to be a powerful intercessor for the sick and the needy.
The best starting point, and the best constant chant as we journey to God’s heart is: “Have mercy on me, oh God, I am a sinner.” As long as we keep this in our hearts and minds, we will not become proud, self-righteous or condescending. As the Gospel reminds us today: We are God’s unworthy servants. Amen!
As we look at what is happening in the world and in our country, let us not lose heart nor be discouraged. Instead, like the disciples, we pray: “Lord, increase our faith!” Let us believe and keep on believing, let us work and keep on working, for a better world, and a better Philippines.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, increase our faith. Amen.