An Introduction to the Scripture Readings for
the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass!
“The Just One, Because Of His Faith, Shall Live”
Our readings today show us an aspect of faith that we rarely consider. It is a faith borne out of hope for salvation and realized through the charity of a servant heart.
Our first reading (Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4), is a lament that is as timeless as the troubles of today’s society. Habakkuk was writing during a time of tyranny and oppression. The evil and hardship of Habakkuk's complaint is not unlike our own today, as we struggle to understand God's ways in dealing with our ways. God's response to Habakkuk is one of patience and faith. The vision God refers to is the promise of Salvation. Only those who trust and have faith will persevere.
How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.
Our Epistle reading (2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14) is from one of St. Paul’s letters from prison to his disciple Timothy, offering words of encouragement as Timothy continues with the pastoral work begun by Paul. This is a work accomplished through the gifts of power, love and self-control that come only from God. This is a letter taken to heart by priests as a guide to being a pastor. We too, in our baptismal role as priest, prophet and king, can take it to heart.
Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
In our Gospel reading (Luke 17:5-10), we hear an exchange between the apostles and Jesus that, at first reading, sounds strange. To their request for increased faith, Jesus told them even a small amount of faith can move mountains. But then he told them in a seemingly disconnected passage, they should be as slaves, seeking no reward for their service. What he was really telling them was that they will find their faith in service to others. Jesus was the living example of the selfless servant who's service is its own reward. Our task is simply to do our duty, do what God asks of us. That is our faith.
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.'"
Jesus' instruction that we must be like slaves, simply doing our duty, may make more sense when we consider his own words, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28). He may be telling us that faith is realized through service and service is its own reward. He taught us this not only by his words but by his life. It is the life he calls us to live. Our faith is our duty.
- Read and reflect on the full readings of Today’s Mass at: www.usccb.org/bible/readings/100619.cfm