This Sunday's Readings
Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
The patience of the just man shall be rewarded when he sees the vision fulfilled.
Sing joyfully to God, our salvation.
2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Paul urges Timothy to remain strong in the Spirit of faith Timothy received.
Jesus teaches the apostles the importance of faith and service to God.
Background on the Gospel Reading
In today's Gospel we hear Jesus teach about faith and service to God. The context is a continuing dialogue between Jesus and his followers about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus has just finished an instruction on sin and forgiveness. There are two related teachings that Jesus offers to his disciples when they cry out for an increase in faith. The first is the familiar reminder that faith, even just a little, will enable the followers of Jesus to do wondrous things. But this uplifting and inspiring teaching is quickly followed by the second teaching, a caution about knowing one's place in God's plans. The disciples of Jesus are to understand themselves as servants to God and his plans. Even when God works wonders through us, with our mustard seed-sized faith, we must not seek praise. Our participation in God's plans is God's grace to us—nothing more, nothing less. When we are graced enough to cooperate with God, the work we do is nothing more than our obligation to God as faithful stewards. And yet, our faith enables us to believe that what we have offered in service to God, as his servants, can be made to produce a hundredfold.