Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (17: 1-6) in which Jesus says to his disciples ‘obstacles are sure to come but alas to the person who provides them’.
Fr Paul says the Gospel we’ve heard today shows us that Luke is using the sayings of Jesus that he has access to. Both he and Matthew have access to the same source of sayings of Jesus. He notes our Gospel is very clearly divided into two parts. It also uses very clear images to express what Jesus’ message is.
In the first half of the Gospel is a warning from Jesus to anyone who wants to put obstacles in the way of a person’s faith. He talks of a millstone, which is at least six feet in diameter, being put around the neck of someone and thrown into the sea. There is no chance of survival if this is done. Then, Fr Paul says, we see those two words of warning – watch yourselves.
In the second half of the Gospel, Fr Paul says, the disciples ask a beautiful question. They make a request of Jesus – increase our faith – and, again, Jesus uses the very vivid image of a mulberry tree being uprooted and planted in the sea.
Fr Paul says the message of this is that Faith demands a deep commitment. Real faith is the confidence that our God will give us what is best for each of us.
For our reflection today, Fr Paul says, we might ask the same request that the disciples have in today’s Gospel, ‘Lord increase our faith’.