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Increase My Faith
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for this opportunity to spend some quiet time with you. Speak to my soul and fill me with your loving presence.
- Faith Grows Slowly: The parable of the field reminds us that faith grows slowly over time. From one day to the next, a field doesn’t change. But in six months or less, an acre that just looked like furrowed dirt has become a field of waving grain. It took watering, fences to keep wild animals out, fertilizers, and more. Dedication and mainly patience turn dirt into a crop. In our life, faith doesn’t spring up in a burst. It most often grows slowly, and we don’t know how.
- The Mustard Seed: Jesus gave us another parable about what we can’t see. At the supermarket, look closely next time at the Dijon mustard to see how small the seed is—a little bigger than the tip of a ballpoint pen. From a mustard seed, something we’d easily miss seeing, a tree taller than a house can emerge. We can’t see the tree inside of the seed, but its potential is already there. It just needs time, love, and effort. Jesus can see the full potential of our faith. It’s already there. Maybe we can get a glimpse, remembering a faith-filled grandparent or someone elderly you see at church who has lived with faith. Talking with them, we may discover that their faith grew from a small mustard seed, which eventually transformed their lives and still blossoms in their joy. That invisible potential, that seed of hope, is there inside our faith too.
- The Invisible: It’s easier to trust only in what we can see, but the most important things in life are invisible—love, freedom, mercy, justice, hope, equality… “What is essential is invisible to the eye” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince). Not only are the most essential things invisible, but the most essential person in our life is also someone we can’t see—yet.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I want to plant my seed of faith in you. I know you see the full tree my faith can become. Each day I will water the seed in my field with prayer. I will set up fences to block out the pests of distractions or doubts so they can’t damage my faith. I will fertilize it by self-sacrifice. May my faith grow tall and one day give shelter to others.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray repeatedly and ardently for an increase in faith.
For Further Reflection: Prayer for Faith
Lord, I believe: I wish to believe in you. Lord, let my faith be full and unreserved, and let it penetrate my thought, my way of judging divine things and human things. Lord, let my faith be joyful and give peace and gladness to my spirit, and dispose it for prayer with God and conversation with men, so that the inner bliss of its fortunate possession may shine forth in sacred and secular conversation. Lord, let my faith be humble and not presume to be based on the experience of my thought and of my feeling; but let it surrender to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and not have any better guarantee than in docility to tradition and to the authority of the magisterium of the Holy Church. Amen.
Father Simon Cleary, LC, is the chaplain at Mano Amiga Academy in the Philippines. The school provides underprivileged children programs that promote values formation, skills and health development, and other services tailored to the needs of the community. Visit www.manoamigaph.org to learn more.