Roc Homily – Twenty-Seventh Sunday Ordinary Time 2016
“Increase our faith!” Let the people say, “Amen!”
Ah, the wonders of the lectionary that does what it has to do, select passages and leave others out. And Sunday’s gospel is a good example of contextus interruptus. The first four verses of chapter 17 are kind of important for they tell us exactly what prompted that prayer. It’s not a generic, “Give me faith so I don’t have to deal with this stuff any more…” It’s quit specific.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.’
Rebuking is important. We don’t know what to do with that today. Here’s a thought: Jesus rebuked Peter when he stood in the way of Jesus’ mission that embraced loss of reputation, rejection, suffering, and death. Perhaps that’s what rebuking has to do with. Not just telling someone we don’t like to shut their trap.
But… Forgive them??? Even seven times a day! Who wants that?
Hence, “Increase our faith!”