Browsing Homilies

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hab 1:2-3; 2:24 | Ps 95 | 2 Tm 1”6-8, 13-14 | Lk 17:5-10

Today’s first reading speaks to a theme many of us can relate to: the silence of God.

Habakkuk was a prophet who lived about 600 years before the birth of Jesus. It was a time of great turmoil for the people of Israel. The Kingdom of Babylon was attacking the city of Jerusalem and taking many of its people into exile. It was a time of war, famine, and great suffering. In the midst of all this violence, Habakkuk does what many of us would also do. He asks why God doesn’t seem to be listening to him, and asks why God is silent.

We get this: when we or our loved ones are sick. If we’ve struggled through the loss of employment or other financial hardship. When children and the elderly are neglected and/or abused? When the very blood of martyrs continues to cry out for justice? Earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires, and pandemics which seem to have no end. Where are you, Lord; why don’t you intervene?

How can God remain silent in the midst of so much suffering? Why is evil permitted to exist? These are questions we will never fully understand. But I think one way to think about it is that God’s silence means that He is hard at work. When we’re working on a difficult project, we are usually so focused on getting it done that we stop talking. We need to concentrate so that we get it right.

In a somewhat similar way, when things are most difficult, God is silently at work setting things right. We might not see it right away. But we can trust that, when the time is right, it will be revealed.

Padre Pio has another way to help us understand why God’s work doesn’t always make sense to us. When he was a little boy, he used to watch his mother doing needlepoint. All he could see was the bottom of the fabric that she was working on. To him, it just seemed like a bunch of loose threads and knots. He asked his mother why she was making such a mess of her needlework. She stopped and flipped the fabric over to show him the design that she was working on. Then it made sense to him. In the same way, Padre Pio says, from our perspective, God’s work seems chaotic and unorganized. But we can be assured He is working on a beautiful design that will one day be revealed to us. It will make sense of everything that we are going through in this life.

At the end of today’s first reading, God does finally answer Habakkuk: “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.” So, God asks us to wait patiently when we are suffering. He asks us to believe that He hears us and that He cares. He will not abandon us. We simply need to keep going forward in trust that He has everything under control. When the time is right (and only then) it will all come together.

It is a simple matter of choosing faith over fear. Jesus promises that all things are possible for the person who has faith.
We received that faith in baptism, and it was “stirred into a flame” in our souls at our Confirmation. It is renewed in us every time we read the Bible, or hear the Scriptures proclaimed, and strengthened in us every time we receive the Eucharist. The more we rely on it, the stronger it grows within us. Relying on that faith, we can give voice to God’s great love for those who suffer and His mighty power to save.

All we need, sisters and brothers, is faith the size of a mustard seed.

God will do the rest.


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