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October 7th, 2001
Catholic Homilies
October 7th, 2001

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27th Sunday of Year Lk 17//11-19


Luke combines two parables in today's Gospel, that of the mustard seed and that of the useless servants. The former is perhaps the better subject for a homily because its meaning is clearer. However, the second is deeper and richer. There is no such thing as a little faith any more than there is a little pregnancy. Faith is an overwhelming power no matter how weak it may seem. Given half a chance it will take over and direct our lives, comforting us when we are discouraged and challenging us when we are complacent. The second parable is at first glance hard to reconcile with Jesus' claim that his apostles are friends, not servants in St. John's Gospel. Perhaps he is being ironic here: you can't earn my love, it's already given to you. Respond to my love with love of your own, but don't run around trying to impress me with how diligent you are.

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Once upon a time a parish decided to give an annual award to a member who during the previous year exemplified the virtues of a Christian life. The award would be presented at a banquet at the beginning of the year giving the parishioners a role model from the ranks of the parish. Many in the parish wondered who would be the first time award.  Others secretly weighed their own chances of being chosen for their many good deeds in support of the parish activities or for their generous financial support of the parish. Imagine everyone's surprise when the first award had two recipients -- the janitor and the rectory housekeeper.  The award committee enumerated the many times the recipients were the unsung heroes of both everyday activities and larger parish events, giving of their time and effort way beyond the call of their job descriptions.

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