Splinters of Light: thoughts on the festive Gospels of Don Marco Panero

At that time, the apostles said to the Lord: “Increase the faith in us!”

The Lord replied, “If you had faith as much as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Upgrade yourself and go plant yourself in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Who among you, if he has a servant plowing or grazing the flock, will say to him when he comes back from the field: “Come immediately and sit at the table”? Wouldn’t he rather say to him: “Prepare some food, tie your clothes to your hips and stay with me, until I have eaten and drunk, and then you will eat and drink”? Will he be grateful to that servant, because he has carried out the orders he received?

So you too, when you have done all that has been ordered to you, say: “We are useless servants. We did what we had to do “” (Lk 17.5-10).

Today, October 2, the Church reaches the XXVII Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C, liturgical color green). The Salesian priest comments on the Gospel of the Holy Mass don Marco Paneroextraordinary professor of Moral Philosophy, at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.

Love, life, values, spirituality are contained in his reflection for “Splinters of Light, thoughts on the festive Gospels”, a column that wants to be a tender caress for all souls in this valley of exile. Thoughts and words in perfect Salesian style to ignite the reasons for the hope that is in us.

“Increase the faith in us!” The passages of Luke that rhythm the last part of the liturgical year host a series of teachings given by Jesus to his disciples, along the way to Jerusalem. These are mostly occasional interventions, which follow meetings, questions or special requests. Jesus, with boundless patience, adapts himself from time to time to the interlocutors he has in front of him and makes every meeting a privileged opportunity for formation for the disciples.

Thus, it is precisely the extemporaneous supplication of the apostles that suggests to Jesus that he treat the subject of faith. «Increase faith in us!»: All in all, it seems to me a good starting point. In fact, asking for a supplement of faith already presupposes a certain dose of faith, which, however weak and shaky it may be, still constitutes the vital nucleus of any future maturation.

Well, this seed of faith already lives in us: it is the baptismal faith, the faith of the Church, in which we were baptized and which, at least to a certain extent, we already possess. What a consolation to know that we are grafted onto a Body greater than us – the Church – which makes up for our weakness and sustains our daily adherence to faith!

In the image used, deliberately paradoxical, Jesus intends to show the efficacy of this faith, how much it can with God and what an inestimable gift it represents. Faced with such a manifestation of faith, one cannot remain indifferent. Well, we could ask ourselves: do I allow myself to be amazed by the beauty of the Christian faith? Do I perceive my life of faith – the one in which I had the grace to be educated – as a blessing for my life? If they asked me if I am happy to be a Christian, what would I answer?

Our faith, the faith revealed by God to his Church, is anything but a theory. It is a living organism, it is the very mystery of God who opens up to us to make himself known and thus arouse our correspondence of love.

Perhaps, a certain lack of audacity in the apostolate, perceptible today, could be caused by the fact that some Christians are not convinced of the beauty of their faith and of its authentic goodness for human life; as if they were holding a commodity which they themselves are the first to doubt and, therefore, hesitate to propose it to others.

We then understand the meaning of the heartfelt appeal that the apostles addressed that day to Jesus: “Increase the faith in us!” Yes, Lord Jesus, increase our faith today too, and allow us to taste its intimate beauty.

Splinters of Light: thoughts on the festive Gospels of Don Marco Panero