Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Wisdom 1:1-7; Psalm 139:1-10;Luke 17:1-6
If you have faith the size of a mustard seed … (Luke 17:6)
Most people have some idea of what a lever is—a long stick or a rod used to help pry or move something heavy. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks were the first to discover that by exerting only a small force at one end of a lever, they could move a large object at the other end. But in order to lift an object, the lever requires an immovable point to pivot upon—a fulcrum. To use an extreme example, think of the words of the Greek philosopher Archimedes: “Had we a place to stand upon, we could even raise the earth.”
This image of the lever can help us understand what Jesus says about faith in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus tells his disciples that a small force—“faith the size of a mustard seed”—is enough to move a mulberry tree. Now, mulberry trees have very deep roots and can grow quite large, which makes them hard to uproot. But Jesus tells us that the “lever” of our faith doesn’t have to be large at all; it just has to rest on something firm. And that firm rock is Jesus!
Many people read this passage and conclude that if only their faith were stronger, they would be able to do anything they wanted. All the “mulberry trees” in their lives would literally fly into the sea if they just had more faith. But that is missing the fact that our faith is just the lever. We need to be founded firmly on Jesus and his wisdom, his will, and his plan. It’s no use trying to “believe” our way into something that God doesn’t want for us!
The key, as in all things, is to stay connected to the Lord. Then we can move all the things that need to be moved in our lives. Are you struggling with a sin pattern? You can move it as you are rooted in Christ. Are you facing a new opportunity for evangelization or service but aren’t sure you can meet the challenge? With Jesus as your “fulcrum,” you can. Always remember: his love and power are bigger than any “mulberry tree” in the world!
“Lord, I believe that I can do all things through you. Teach me to surrender to your will, even as I trust in your mighty power!”~WAU