The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
Were you a self-starter? I was not as much of one as I would have liked.
Did you initiate learning how to do certain things in your childhood? One lesson I learned came from asking Dad “one time too many” to do something for me. That something was tying my shoelaces! We sat down in the floor right then and there and he taught me how to do that simple thing. It took some practice, but soon I mastered it. It would be a number of years later that I learned there was more than one way to do that simple task, just as there is more than one way to remember the days of the months of the year (knuckle vs. poem versions).
In our scripture reading today the apostles want to lay full responsibility for their faith increasing at Jesus’ feet. It is as if the apostles addressed Jesus saying: “You, increase our faith.” Let us remain “baby birds” and you feed us with what is necessary to increase our faith. Then Jesus sets things straight by pointing out what they could do if their faith was no larger than the size of a mustard seed. Jesus says, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you.’” It seems that what the apostles need is not “an increase” in their faith. What they need to do is to exercise the faith that they already have. While a tree might not be uprooted and planted in the sea, the apostles might be able to do far greater things than what they could imagine doing or what they were currently doing. I suspect you and I are more like the apostles in that respect than we would care to admit.
O Lord, bless the apostles’ hearts! So often they did not get it and they turned to You for everything, not realizing that You had given them faith to do remarkable things. The problem was they were not exercising their faith. Teach us to learn from their experience. Help us to put our faith in action so that we too can do remarkable things. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.