DO WE HAVE A LIVING FAITH? Or How deep-rooted is our Faith?

A friend once called me and was complaining about how unfair life is. He complained about the injustices around the world, oppression of the poor, economic exploitation of the weak by the mighty, etc. He complained about every detail of evil in the world. I kept calm and listened. He mentioned that there was need for God to intervene if He truly exists. At the end, he said, “honestly, I am losing faith in God.” When he finally gave me a chance to speak, I was lost for words. All I managed to say was, “We must keep believing and trusting in God.”

We see a similar scenario in the dialogue between Habakkuk and God in the first reading. Habakkuk lived during the reign of Jehoiakim, whose reign was literally the reign of evil in Israel. There was oppression, bloodshed, violence, injustice, and institutional idolatry. He did not pay attention to the situation of things. All he cared for was pleasure, leisure, and the luxury of his palace. The first reading narrates Habakkuk’s complaints to God, and his disappointment that God was keeping silent. In response, God made it known to him that positive change may not come soon. It may take time, but surely, it will come. In conclusion, God told him that in the face of all these challenges, the upright man shall live by faith.

Perhaps, this is also our reaction when things around us seem not to be moving the way we expect. Sometimes, life may throw a lot of challenges at us that we wonder if God is still there for us, if He truly exists. God is always there for us. All He expects from us in such difficult moments is to have a living faith, like He told his apostles in the Gospel reading. The apostles were asking for an increase in faith, but Christ said, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mulberry tree, ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” With these words, Christ made them understand that what they needed was not an increase in faith but a living faith, in other words, a deep-rooted faith.

A mulberry tree is known to have deep roots which makes it very difficult to be uprooted by wind. On the other hand, a mustard seed is a very small seed. Christ uses the imagery of uprooting a mulberry tree by a faith as little as a mustard seed, to teach us that all we need is a living-faith and not an increase in faith, to handle and get through the most difficult situations in life.

Our faith is a living faith when it becomes a concrete life commitment to truth, justice, charity, compassion, fairness, equity, steadfastness, and virtues. Only then will our attitude to difficulties and challenges change. Then, we become capable of achieving what looks impossible to human eyes. One way of doing this is what Paul tells us in the second reading, “to stir into flame the gift (faith) which God has given us” (2Tim 1:6).

 

Jude Okeke