Sermons

Summary: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time; 27th Sunday, Cycle C

A businessman had to travel to a meeting and invited his wife to come with him. She was excited about the trip until she learned her husband was going to be flown to the meeting in a small plane. She said, “Honey, I’ve decided not to go … I am not going on a little-bitty plane.”

Her husband smiled and knowingly said, “Honey, your faith is too small.” She quipped, “No, the plane is too small.”

The husband re-booked travel on a major airline. His wife went with him because, as she put it, “her faith grew because the size of the plane grew.”

The strength of one's faith is inversely proportional to the strength of one's doubt.

Keep commanding your problem to be uprooted.

When Jesus taught His disciples to “say” to the mulberry tree (Luke 17:6), the Greek word used for “say” is in the imperfect tense, which describes an action that was still going on in the past. Repeatedly command the problem to depart. Don’t just say it once but keep going until your breakthrough.

A couple examples from Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen who noted that often we want to be saved, but not from our sins, or we want to be saved, but not at too great a cost or we want to be saved in our way, not His.

Uproot

He wrote in a chapter called “Psychoanalysis and Confession,” that “Regular confession prevents our sins, our worries, our fears, our anxieties from seeping into the unconscious and degenerating into melancholy, psychoses, and neuroses. The boil is lanced before the pus can spread into unconsciousness.”

Uproot

Early in his priesthood he acquired the lifelong habit of sitting before the Blessed Sacrament an hour each day. This daily devotion became “like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world.”

The only way to increase our faith, Jesus seems to be saying, is by using whatever faith we have. Even a teenytiny faith the size of a mustard seed could uproot the tree with the most tenacious roots and transplant it elsewhere, like the sea.

The most minuscule faith, if exercised, can accomplish the seemingly impossible. Use it or lose it. Use it and it will grow.

Growth can only occur if we respond to God’s grace through constant acts of love, acts of kindness that become ever more frequent, intense, generous, tender and cheerful. Husbands and wives “become conscious of their unity and experience it more deeply from day to day”.(Gaudium et Spes, 48).

Saint Thomas Aquinas said “Charity, by its very nature, has no limit to its increase, Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 24, art. 7) Saint Paul also prays: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another” (1 Th 3:12), and again, “concerning fraternal love… we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more” (1 Th 4:9-10).

Lastly, Jesus says, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'"

Calling ourselves “unprofitable servants:” is not about a poor self-image but the doctrine that salvation cannot be gained on human merit alone!

Ordinary faith can make you the beneficiary of miracles and other divine blessings, but by extraordinary faith you can effect a healing or other mighty work—that is, direct the operation of divine power upon other persons or things. If you have fervent, ardent faith, even though it seemed to be small, you would accomplish great things.

e.g. Every baptized and confirmed Catholic should have an apostolate or lay ministry. Vatican II teaches us that “The whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization is a basic duty of the People of God. Where lay responsibility is absent the Church is incomplete.” - Vatican II – AA 21

The Philippine Catholic Lay Mission published the “missionary pilgrimages” of some members, called STORIES OF THE HEART, TREASURES OF THE SOUL: 25 JOURNEYS OF FILIPINO LAY MISSIONARIES. In the book, individual life stories of Catholics in mission are chosen because they mirror the ‘Great Story,’ the story of the One who has called us and blesses our faithful efforts.

My favorite entries:

“Mission had shaken my core and drastically changed my outlook in life— I had learned to let go, to trust and allow God to lead my life” (36).

“I learned to rely more heavily upon God’s guidance, and our successes were of God’s providence” (107);

“Our many moments of crisis were transformed into moments of conversion” (177)

“During difficult moments of our mission, Jing and I always passed by the Blessed Sacrament to give thanks and pray for guidance. Prayer and the Eucharist were the supreme sustenance of our mission commitment” (49).

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Anthony Coppola

commented on Oct 6, 2019

I really benefited from this sermon. There was a lot that I could expound upon. The explanation of 'unprofitable' was excellent. As was most all of it. I did not use the last part regarding the Filipino witnesses. But all and all it was very good. Thank you

Paul Andrew

commented on Oct 6, 2019

Thanks for your comment. I have to preach this in a couple hours and it will likely change a bit upon delivery....you know how that goes! PTL.

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