This coming Sunday’s Gospel passage can be found at the USCCB website HERE. Have it handy and read along with this post. If you need a refresher on lectio divina (or you’re new to this form of prayer) check out this brief explanation HERE. As you read my thoughts below, read the Gospel passage at the start of each section. You should read through it four times total by the end of the post.
Read the Gospel passage and then think about what word or words (or phrase, phrases) most caught your attention. For me: “Increase our faith” and “We are unprofitable servants.”
Read the Gospel passage a second time and then move on to the section below.
REFLECT: What is God saying to you?
One of the many things I often ask God for is to increase my faith. So right off, that petition from his apostles stuck out for me. Then Jesus tells them that even a small amount of faith could move a tree. Really? I just want to cry to God and ask for forgiveness for having such poor faith. But then you read further and the second, seemingly unrelated story, helps put everything in better perspective.
I read this passage out loud to my husband the other night and lamented the whole “moving a tree” thing. He mentioned that you could move the tree with the faith the size of a mustard seed if God had a reason to move it. And that makes so much sense! What would be the point of moving something like a tree or a mountain or a house or whatever if it wasn’t God’s will. And don’t we see that all the time with other things too? God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we would like. Sometimes our desires line up with God’s will, but sometimes not. In those cases where it doesn’t, God may have to say “no” or “not yet.” That doesn’t mean that our faith in him is too small, it only means that whatever we’re asking for is not in his plan.
Thinking on that also helped me make the connection with the second story about the servant. Jesus tells us to do what we are commanded and then to say, “We are unprofitable servants.” This phrase also stuck with me when I read it. We are servants to God, so in the parable we are the servant who does the will of the master. We are to do what we are obliged to do (go to Mass, ask forgiveness for our sins, serve God’s people, take care of God’s creation, perform acts of mercy, etc., etc.) and in the end we are still “unprofitable servants.” No matter how much faith we have, how much we seek to do God’s will, and how well we serve him, we still don’t deserve his love. But he loves us anyway!!
That’s the Good News, isn’t it? That no matter what, we are loved. We may have all the faith in the world, but we might not be able to move a tree if it isn’t God’s will. Yet we could if he did desire it. We could do seemingly impossible things if it’s God’s will that it happen. And as his servants we should always be seeking to do what he desires. I suppose I could answer the question, What is God saying to you, by simply saying that he wants me to always seek his will and not to be discouraged when my prayers are not answered. Have faith and work on being a good and faithful servant. Not an easy task, but anything worth doing is never easy.
Read the Gospel passage again before considering the next question.
RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?
To God I would say, thank you for loving me and thank you for the many blessings in my life. I pray that I am serving God as he wants and that I can always seek to be following his will.
Read the Gospel passage one final time. Read it slowly, feel the words touch your heart, and rest in God’s loving message to you.
Share in the comments, what do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him? You can also join the conversation on the Catholic Sistas’ Instagram account, but I’d love to hear your thoughts here too.
Kerri Baunach is a Catholic wife and mother of three boys (plus three in heaven). She and her family live in beautiful central Kentucky where she is active in her church, a member of Cursillo, and a Benedictine Oblate. Kerri often writes on her Catholic faith, pregnancy loss, her kids, and pro-life issues. Kerri is a former music librarian (16 years) now stay-at-home mom, was a musician for over 20 years, loves taking her kids to the library (and loves that they love it), is passionately pro-life, can’t cook, and has lived in six states. In additional to writing at Catholic Sistas you can also find Kerri on her own blog at Journal of a Nobody.