October 2, Feast Day of Guardian Angels, God's messengers for light, love and life to all children of God. "Let us start from the very beginning, a very good place to start." Learning the Gospel is like "do-re-mi" converted to "dough-ray-me." In other words, "Lord please re-form me and bring on the light." I want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so please help me God to know it and be set free to fly and grow. The Bible is the genuine place of grace and knowledge to discover one's true inner-self.
To those in virtual pews, this first Sunday of the month begins with The Gospel According to St. Luke and a universal message of faith. It may be of interest to note; legendary tradition holds that St. Luke personally painted the famous icon of "Our Lady of Perpetual Help," the Mother of Jesus and humanity. October is dedicated to her rosary prayer and her intercessions to God on behalf of us all. St. John the Evangelist, who stood at the foot of the Cross with Holy Mother Mary, is believed to have introduced his convert friend Luke to her and to the Christian faith during highly political chaos in the first century AD. Jesus chose The Incarnation to take place when the world was engulfed in political strife, violence and sin, just like today. For those thirsting for waters of hopeful quenching, the Gospel is where the redemptive, refreshing and re-born rivers of life, total healing and absolute truth is found. Everything else is an illusion.
Lights, cameras and action are essential components to rock concerts and revivals. My first Rolling Stones concert as a teenager was an eye-opener. Whilst it moved the body, it was not good for the soul. Baby boomers to millennials remember the words to Mick Jagger's song of lamentation, "I can't get no satisfaction." But we learn from Jesus' teaching today how to satisfy our thirst for all aspects of our life. Not from a rolling stone but from the rock from which flows living water. Remember when Moses tapped the rock at God's direction and water flowed abundantly. It's simply by opening our hardened hearts and inviting The Holy Spirit to enter and quench our thirst to increase our faith that revives our soul. Jesus asks followers to only have faith the size of a "mustard seed" and He will do the rest. Jesus is the real Rock-Star. He teaches us that the tiny size of mustard seed faith opens our desire and our will for the waters and fullness of truth to flow to our thirsting soul. Like a camera when the lens is opened the light shines in and dispels the darkness and an image emerges. So if we desire to see the image of Jesus in ourselves and to experience His love which fortifies us, we need only to open the lens of our intellect and will for more light to come in and shine in our lives. Then actions we take will be filled with amazing grace and we will be wretched no more.
Jesus uses the tiny mustard seed as an example of faith to grow to do small and big things while experiencing great love, joy and peace. When discussing "politics and faith" St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) reminds us:
If we could only remember God's love, and we have an opportunity to love others as He loves us, not in big things, but in small things with great love then [our country] becomes a nest of love...a burning light of peace in the world.
If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, a tiny, tiny seed, love flows and we grow in grace leading to inner and outer peace. We learn from Scripture that the secret is mustard seeds grow into a wide bush and all the birds of the air come to rest in its branches. All Jesus wants is for us to look at the palm of our hand imagining a tiny mustard seed and realize just how little he is asking from us to see into our bright future. Even though we sometimes give an act of faith with reluctance, Jesus accepts that little faith and does wonders with it.
Another poignant Gospel teaching relevant to Jesus' invitation to faith is about the blind man asking to be cured and Jesus asks him, "Do you believe that I can do this?" And the blind man answers "I do believe Lord, help my unbelief." Jesus not only cured his blindness but gave him the gift of faith because the blind man followed him desiring it. That's exactly what ministers tell people baptized or desiring the truth, to be open to the Word of God. Faith is a power, called a virtue, but it is a power. Faith can move mountains God's way.
The supreme example of faith is Jesus' Mother Mary, called the exemplar role model woman of faith. Humility combined with total surrender and patient trust in God is what we learn from her ardent faith. In another Gospel about faith, St. John informs that it was Mary who asked Jesus to perform His first miracle at "The Wedding of Cana" when there was no more wine. She humbly teaches us, "Do whatever He tells you to do." Holy Mother Mary instructs that when our faith is strengthened, worries are lifted leading to happiness and peace. Even the popular musician, late John Lennon wrote, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking word of wisdom, let it be." For those anxiously waiting for the chastisement, transformation and fulfillment to come because of a political world so full of violence, hatred and sin leading to death, be patient. We can ask our Guardian Angel and our Holy Mother Mary to help us come to Jesus. The Old Testament reading today is from the 7th century BC, Book of Habakkuk, eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Hebrew Bible offering Divine eternal hope. God informs help is on the way, "If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come." Have faith!
Children, Brothers and Sisters, Alleluia. Amen.