Now days you see signs for food everywhere where you can get a Supersize of fries, burgers, or even soda. In New York the mayor passed an order that there can be no more supersize drinks in the city. The reason for the order is that people are taking in extra calories that they do not need. Supersizing of the mustard seed is not needed in the Gospel of today. We have enough faith already.
Most of us think that we need incredible faith to do things in life. Jesus was saying that we do have enough faith within us already to do many things. We wait and wait until we feel the faith of God increase within us. If we waited until we FEEL that increase of faith inside of us we might never act. Faith is already in us now. If we wait until all of our problems are gone or we know exactly what to do in a situation we might never get anything done.
Many of us have many fears. We can fear that we might let God down when we try to act. Or, we cannot make any difference in the world. Or, that we do not know where to start. In order to offset this people ask for more faith so they will feel completely comfortable doing what God is asking us to do. This is where the mustard seed story comes from. Jesus tells the people that if they had the faith the size of a mustard seed they could ask that a mulberry tree be uprooted and planted in the sea. It is obvious that Jesus knows a mulberry tree cannot be uprooted and then be expected to grow in an ocean. It is a simple story where Jesus is using a mulberry tree as an analogy that great things can be done if we as individuals have not only faith in God but that are willing to act.
Here is another example I read about while preparing for this homily. Having faith is a bit like being pregnant. You cannot say that you have a little bit of faith. You cannot say that you are a little bit pregnant. When you are pregnant you are pregnant. When Jesus says you have faith, you have faith. It is up to us to use our faith to work for the good of the community. Once we focus on following through with needs to be done for others, our faith will increase.
There are many things that need to be done in this world. Today I have received several emails from my friends suggesting something we all can do about the Congress cutting off money for women and families. If we know that we have faith in God's mercies we can go forward and purchase infant formula for shelters and the homeless ourselves and deliver this formula to the places those women and babies are living. If we know that veterans are not receiving money from the government during the shutdown, we can buy extra food to drop off at a veteran's center to help the burden. If we know that other people are being affected by the government shutdown, we can open our eyes and listen more carefully to some of these people's needs. It does take courage to take action and to live more faithfully to what God has in mind by simply looking at a problem more creatively than we might have in the past.
Faith in God does not always change the circumstances in our life. We are changed. Living in faith does not shield us from pain; faith changes our attitude about what might be possible and the courage to go on. The more we practice doing good actions as our faith in God instructs us to do, the more comfortable we will be when God asks us to even more. Faith means that we believe that God loves us and reaches out to guide us in more and more action.
I have a friend that has a garden where she grows food for the poor. She was telling me that lately she has been having more courage and been approaching farmers who are selling produce if they would be willing to donate some of their fruit and vegetables so she can take them to a food pantry. The last time I talked to her she had been given a large container of plums that were on the edge of spoiling and was making plum jam so she would not go to waste. My friend had told me that she never believed she could make difference in helping out people by giving food to a food pantry. And, certainly, she did not have the courage in the past to ask farmers to donate. The faith that God has given her encourages her every growing season to see that she is able to donate more and more. God has also given her the courage and physical well being to do the increased tasks she is guided by God to do. When I think of how her faith is expanding year by year I am astonished.
Whenever we take a step forward to help another person, our faith grows little by little. Three little steps lead to four and then five more steps. We may continue to be troubled and confused about some aspects of our lives that need solving. But we keep on moving forward because we believe that God has asked us to do for others. Our faith in God begins with one little step and then another and another. Before long we are making doing some awesome things that we never even believed we could. We have enough faith because God has promised us the faith. Do not be surprised when we have moved mountains.