Keeping Faith Alive (20)


Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good…….Now from the depth of heart, wish your mind well……

Now I invite you to consecrate this day and all that come with this day….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

I pray for you and I invite you to pray for each other and for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day!

We continue our meditation on keeping our faith alive. Our last meditation was on being

positive and optimistic about life and the world and nurture a spirit of hope on our journey of faith. This meditation is on being deliberate, intentional, unwavering and unyielding as we strive to keep our faith alive.

The disciples prayed to their master: “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5) and the Lord said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed….you will be able to uproot a sycamore tree” (Luke 17:6).

Jesus had offered several challenges to his disciples (Luke 16 – 17). He told his disciples that scandals would happen, but do not scandalize anyone. He advised them to be careful not send a younger or weaker person on the wrong way! He taught them to learn to correct erring brothers, but to be generous and gracious and forgiving. He demanded that their standard of forgiveness must immeasurably exceed the best the world can achieve! Faced with these overwhelming challenges, the apostles asked Jesus for an “increase of faith”.

The imageries of mustard seed and sycamore tree seem to imply that the apostles possessed the “gift” of faith. All they had to do was to live it, unwrap the gift they had, translate it into action and see to its maintenance and care – they had to nurture it and give it life.

Jesus uses the example of a servant, who comes in from the filed after a day’s work, being asked to do more work. Should this servant expect gratitude form his master for doing his duty? The featured servant is doing double duty, more than expected of him, more than his assigned duty. The servant is to see this “call beyond duty” as a gift, an honor and an expression of the master’s gratitude (Luke 17:5-10). The gift of faith and the relationship that grows from it makes it possible for us to understand this attitude… like the Master, Jesus, who came to serve and serve generously.

He encouraged Timothy to “stir into flame the gift of God….and never be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord…” and to bear hardship for the Gospel…
(2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14)

Fan into flame the spark that is within you! Stir into flame the gift of faith. Keep the prayer going: Lord, increase our faith and keep your faith alive!

Paul advised the Corinthians, “Be steadfast, persevering, my beloved brothers, fully engaged in the work of the Lord (1:Cor.15:58).

We must be deliberate and intentional and stay focused on our journey if we wish to keep our faith alive. We must invest and work with whatever little faith we have, however small our faith may be. This means making daily and difficult choices consistent with who we are, choices that reflect our character and according to the values that we have chosen and affirmed as our own.

Take a few moments to read and prayerfully reflect on the following Scripture excerpts.

All of them are about being deliberate and intentional. They are about striving to fulfill choices and commitments, to be faithful to duties and responsibilities that flow from commitments, to be true to ourselves, to be authentic in all we say and do, to be men and women of integrity, to be steadfast in living our faith and in loving our God and giving ourselves generously to one another in love and service as we go about doing the daily mundane things of the ordinary and everyday life.

St. Paul wrote to the Philippians (3:7-21) to press forward in Christ…..leaving all else behind and moving forward to where He is leading….I am racing to grasp the prize if possible since I have been grasped by Christ…I give no thought to what lies behind but push on to what is ahead…my entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me…it is important to stay on course no matter what stage we have reached……

St. Paul advised the Ephesians (5:1-21) to be imitators of God as His dear children…Be imitators of God…..follow the way of love…live as children of light…discern what pleases the Lord…try to discern the will of God…Defer to one another out of reverence for Christ!

Paul says to the Philippians, “to me life means Christ”! “Conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:12-30).

Paul says to the Galatians, ” I died to the Law to live for God….I now no longer live, Christ my Lord lives in me” (Galatians 2:19-20)

From the beginning of scriptures, we read about great men and women being called to make difficult choices and they in turn called their people to make hard choices. Moses and the prophets and finally Jesus offered people choices between life and death; way of the just and way of the wicked; good and bad; foolishness and wisdom and so on.

Jesus challenges us to make difficult choices, make the difficult journey, walk the path of trials, face testing times, enter through the narrow door………

The way to the kingdom is not easy, but it is just the right way, the way made to fit our needs! We must make difficult choices and be faithful to the choices we make.

The choice is ours. Once the choice is made, the question is: is that your final choice, your final answer to the call?

The Gospel of Mathew (Mt. 21:28-32) speaks of a son who said “no” to his father and changed it into an “yes” and another son who said “yes” to his father changed it into a “no”. The final answer made the difference.

Take a moment: think of all the people whose lives once characterized by “no” to God and to God’s goodness and then transformed into a decided “yes”, into a final answer “yes”.

All are called to the Kingdom of God. However, crying out, “Lord…Lord…” will not give anyone access to the Kingdom (Mathew 7:21, 24-27). Jesus calls us to be sincere in living our faith, loving our God and our people. Sincerity in living our faith is shown in practice, in the way we strive to fulfill our God call. Fine words are never substitutes for fine deeds. Be sincere in your efforts to live out your faith.

It is not difficult to recite a creed, but to live the Christian life is demanding and challenging and often difficult.

Live in such a way, that those who know you but don’t know God will come to know God because they know you. Carry your faith for a while and your faith will carry you and hold you tenderly when things aren’t going your way.

Let us strive to be true to ourselves, to be authentic in all we say and do, to be steadfast in living our faith and keep our faith alive. May the “Year of Faith” be God’s wonderful gift to you and I pray that you will make it a gracious and joyful gift to others.

Keep your faith alive and your faith will keep you alive!

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs



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