We would all like to have our faith increased, but do we know why we are asking? Habakkuk helps us to understand why we are asking for an increase of faith.
At the time of Habakkuk, the Babylonians were on the border ready to attack. They were known for their brutality and cruelty. Habakkuk cries out for the Jewish people. Take away the violence and the destruction. Save your people Lord. But if not, we know the one with faith will live. In fear and terror, the Jewish people are crying out for an increase in faith that they might live.
With that in mind, consider our gospel. Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem. It is nearly time for Him to undergo His Passion. He has been warning His disciples five separate times that He will undergo a great trial, be scourged, and crucified. His message is finally making sense to His disciples.
If Jesus is to be scourged and crucified it is very probable that they will undergo the same trial. The disciples realize now that they may be scourged and crucified because they follow Jesus. With fear and trembling they ask Jesus that He increase their faith that they will follow Him to their death.
The request makes sense. If we who about to die, we would want an increase of faith. What was Jesus’ response? He began to talk about the power of faith. If we are terrified right now, we would say no Lord, not power, an increase, we need more faith. More the reason Jesus’ answer makes sense.
If you had faith the size of a mustard seed imagine all the many things you could do! Truly then we do not understand faith. Faith cannot be measured or weighed. It is a gift from God. A gift we are to generously share with others. Faith is a power that must be used carefully with wisdom and prudence.
We ask for an increase, but Jesus says use the faith you have been given. You have not learned how to use the faith you have. If you cannot use the faith you have with wisdom and understanding, how can you receive an increase of faith. This makes sense to me. I have not seen or heard of any of you moving a mulberry tree.
The end of the gospel implies that until we know how to use the power of faith, we are just servants. We do only what we are told to do. After all, if we do not know how to move a mulberry tree with the faith we have, then having more faith is not going to make us smarter with additional faith.
Then we are wiser to say we are humble servants who still need to learn. The reading from Paul to Timothy tells us we need to stir into flame our faith for God has given us a Spirit of power, love, and self-control. You have been trusted with the words of the Gospel. Carefully guard your faith but openly share your witness. Your testimony is grace to those who hear.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen