Homily for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2022
Driving to Saint John this past week, my eyes were drawn to the reds, oranges and yellows that now sweep our once green landscapes. Nature is telling us that we are in the midst of transition. Currently we are moving from one season to the next. Summer is over and fall has begun. It is against this colourful backdrop that we look at today’s readings.
In the first reading, the prophet Habakkuk expresses sadness and outrage over the suffering and violence in the world. He cries aloud asking why God has not intervened. I don’t know about you, but I sure can relate to this, as we witness much violence in the world today. The first reading invites us to give voice to our concerns, and it also reminds us to seek God, refuge and action as a way to solve the many problems we face. Our struggles with violence, drugs and the ongoing wars around the world plus climate change are examples of the violence that plagues us today. We must call out to God for help as we also use our power and influence to help eliminate these horrible things.
Reading the first reading and the Gospel in tandem can help us to draw insights from Luke’s Gospel. In the Gospel reading, we encounter a statement that compares faith to a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds and position that with the size of a mulberry tree: Jesus says, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree (which is a large tree), ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” This past week alone, we have certainly witnessed large trees being uprooted in thrown into the sea, but also into people’s homes, other structures and property with Hurricanes Fiona and Ian. And yet it is Jesus who calls on his followers to recognize the power of their faith, a power that might be underappreciated or even ignored. Considering this in light of Habakkuk’s cry for divine help, the Gospel reminds us to use the faith we have… putting it in God’s presence and in our own power to bring about change or the process of transition.
Truly, today we are living these readings. As we reflect on the suffering that is in the world, today’s readings call us to approach these issues with an eye towards God and towards our own ability. Habakkuk shows us the honesty and frustration through prayer, in complaining and begging for God to intervene. But Habakkuk does not give up. We, too, should be intentional in seeking divine help and intervention. The Gospel reminds us to take an active role in addressing the suffering of the world, mindful of the challenges but committed to do something to fulfill the Gospel call to love. From boots on the ground to offering of prayers are the actual mechanics of transition.
In our own faith community, Holy Spirit Parish knows first-hand about the difficulty of Transitions: moving from 3 different parishes into one… or moving from paralyzing fear of covid to living with it. All of this takes time. We know that transitioning from one aspect to another is demanding but worthwhile. In times of transition, we always need to figure out what is new that God wants to give us. Sometimes were content with what God has given us. But that can lead to complacency. We should always be looking for the ‘new’ that our generous God always wants to give us… we need to move forward… to something that is going to give us life.
This weekend, Jesus asks us to reflect on our faith. We may feel that our faith is inadequate or think that we need MORE faith. But faith is faith. We all have it… if not, we wouldn’t be here. Nevertheless, our faith calls us to move forward, to experience and appreciate the transitions around us.
As we have done in the past, next Wednesday, October 5 at 7 pm the core team of the Revitalization Committee will be sitting down to look at our coming year and what opportunities we have to transition into something better… where we the Holy Spirit may be leading our parish. During this time, we will begin our workshop with prayer, asking God to open our minds and hearts, to look at how we are bringing the Good News to others.
We will use our faith to brainstorm, sharing of ideas, addressing needs within our parish boundaries and beyond; what is not working anymore and who is being left out to name but a few. This will be a time to bring on some new members and some former members step down; again, to embrace our faith and transition into a tighter and much stronger faith community.
Those of you who are not attending, we need you, like Habakkuk to storm heaven with prayer of support. This is very exciting because it always opens other avenues for us to be church. Just as Jesus challenged his followers, we too have been challenged…to continue the process of transitioning into the church that we are called to by moving forward with our faith and hope to the new blessings that our generous God wants to give us. Amen.