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Reflection for October 2022 (Liturgical Year – Cycle C, Year II)

Community Word: True followers of Christ live a life of unwavering faith.
Order: “Take as your norm…the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 1:13)
The Book of Hebrews says that, “faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen,” (Heb 11:1). It is a strong belief in God and in knowing who God is, in understanding and appreciating the depth of His love for us, manifested by redeeming us through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, His beloved Son. It is in having a steadfast faith in letting God be God in every way. We do not waver in our spiritual faith despite life’s trials and difficulties, sickness, calamities and conflicts that disturb our peace of mind. Our faith remains unchanged even when the poor continue to be victims of injustice and exploitation, and notwithstanding that deceivers and the corrupt prevail over the righteous and the honest. We keep the faith regardless whether strife and discord are present, even among spiritual people.
The prophet Habakkuk assures us that God has an answer to all these. “For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late,” (Hb 2:3). Indeed, God has His own plans and ways that are far different from our understanding. In the Book of Isaiah, God tells His people, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. For the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts,” (Is 55:8-9). For us who belong and serve in the community, this is a great challenge on how we should live our lives and how we respond to the challenges we encounter in our service. But, followers who manifest genuine faith are those who, in spite of all difficulties, are always conscious and consistent when they think, live and act like Christ in every way and are committed to the end.
The Community Order for October is, “Take as your norm … the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus,” (2 Tim1:13). The Lord wants to reveal this to all of us, that we can live in abundance and have it to the fullest. This is the gospel truth which should always be in our minds: that we have a God who loves us so much and who is always faithful in all His ways. He is always by our side to bless us and give us strength, and to be our guide in this life’s journey, as He waits for us in heaven at the end of times.
But are we always faithful to God? Do we waver in our faith as we follow Christ? For this month of October, through the readings, let us reflect on the ways we can live a holy life with unwavering faith as true followers of Christ.
Our theme for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time tells us – We live a life of unwavering faith when we place our complete trust in Christ Jesus. When the apostles asked Jesus, “Increase our faith,” (Lk 17:5) Jesus simply replied, “If you have faith like the size of a mustard seed…” (Lk 17:6). Jesus tells us that it is not the amount of faith, but the depth and sincerity of our faith that matters to God, that our faith should increase and grow stronger and that we put it into action. Faith will definitely grow when we become like Christ more and more, living in faith and acting in faith. When our faith is small and weak, let us humbly ask our Lord Jesus to increase our faith. And as we do, we are assured that “…the just one, because of his faith, shall live,” (Hab 1:4).
For the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is – We live a life of unwavering faith when we are grateful to God in all things. The event narrated in the gospel tells us that Jesus is sensitive to those who are ungrateful. He asks, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?” (Lk 17:17). The nine lepers represent those who take God for granted, for His gift of creation, His offer of eternal life and His grace. These are those who are ungrateful because they do not go before the Lord to thank Him for all of life’s many blessings, big or small, assuming that they deserve everything that they own. But Jesus appreciates the gratefulness of the Samaritan and his faith after obtaining both physical and spiritual healing. A person with a grateful heart is always conscious that life is full of blessings and is fully aware that the hand of God continuously and mysteriously works in the world. As declared by the psalmist, “…the Lord has made his salvation known…he has revealed his justice,” (Ps 98:2).
We live a life of unwavering faith when we do not grow weary in our prayers and in proclaiming God’s word – is the theme for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Jesus tells his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He invites us to persist in prayer especially in times of difficulties, and not fall to desperation or discouragement. Jesus tells us not to lose heart because God will always answer our prayers. He will say ‘yes’ when it is in accord with His plans, but ‘no’ if it is not for our benefit. God will also say ‘wait’ when it is not the time for it. Persistence in prayer shows our humility and dependency on God. In the parable, Jesus says that if perseverance obtains justice from an unjust judge, how much more from a good and loving Father if we never give up in asking Him. Let us be trusting and faithful to our Lord, in His goodness and in His great mercy. God never fails us as we are assured of this promise: “The Lord will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever,” (Ps 121:8).
For the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is – We live a life of unwavering faith when we acknowledge our nothingness before God. All true followers of Jesus are called to be Christ-like in humility. There is nothing that we can offer to God because we are His creation and everything comes from Him. Therefore, we must always remember that we do not deserve anything or should claim entitlement from God. We should honestly accept our nothingness, more so our sinfulness as we profess that we need Jesus in our life, to bring us to enjoy eternity in heaven with Him. As we need Christ’s redeeming power and forgiveness, let us humbly go before the Lord and say, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner,” (Lk 18:13). Doing so will merit us this promise: “…the one who humbles himself will be exalted,” (Lk 18:14b).
Finally, the theme for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time is – We live a life of unwavering faith when we repent and make reparations of our wrongdoings. The story about Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector during Jesus’ time, is a great example on how salvation of one’s soul can be gained through repentance and transformation. Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus into his home and he changes his way of life, “half of my possessions I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over,” (Lk 19:8). In our spiritual conversion, we received God’s forgiveness, but it was also necessary for us to reform our lives. Jesus came not to condemn sinners, but to save them by calling them to repentance and renewal. But real conversion must produce good fruit through good words, actions and deeds. It is a change of mind, heart and soul, a change in attitude and way of life walking along the righteous path. Coming right before God eases our conscience, gives peace of mind, renews us from within, and brings us joy, enjoying the redeeming grace of God. Thus, our promise tells us – “The Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down,” (Ps 145:14).
Loving Jesus, increase my faith that I may always find strength in Your unfailing love and find joy and contentment believing in Your guiding presence in my life. Fill me with Your consuming love and inflame my heart to love generously and to serve selflessly for Your sake. Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me count my blessings with a grateful heart, and to give thanks in all circumstances. You are my strength, my hope, my life and my all in all. Amen.


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