THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
MOVING TREES AND MOUNTAINS
Today’s gospel: Luke 17:1-6
In our work of evangelization, we are called to overcome Satan,
evil and the culture of death, with all their powerful worldly
forces that are against faith, family and life. It is a seemingly
almost impossible task. But then, Jesus already did conquer
Satan and death. We can too. As our theme for 2013 says, whoever
believes in Jesus will do the works he did, and even greater
ones than those (Jn 14:12)!
is a call to faith (more specifically we Catholics are in
the Year of Faith). And we know that faith works wonders.
Indeed Jesus himself said, “If you have faith the size
of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be
uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey
you.” (Lk 17:6). Amazing!
.... is that not impossible? Has anyone in the history of
the world, including Jesus, actually commanded a mulberry
tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea, and been obeyed?
what is harder, to move a mulberry tree thus, or to move a
mountain with a similar command? Though both seem impossible,
if it could be done, I would think the latter would be much
harder (a mountain is just so much larger and heavier than
a mulberry tree). But what does Jesus say? “Amen, I
say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’
and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Mt 17:20b-c). Say that again? Nothing will be impossible
can that be? Well, “nothing will be impossible for God.”
(Lk 1:37). Jesus affirms this: “For human beings this
is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
(Mt 19:26). So what needs to happen? We need to have faith
and to become another Christ. We need to be in the place Jesus
wants us to be, that is, stepping into his very sandals. We
need to BE.LI.EV.E!
Now Jesus never uprooted a mulberry tree or moved a mountain
simply by a command. He was not a magician or a performer.
He acted not to impress the crowds. He wanted people to have
authentic deep-seated faith, not awe at magical works, which
awe quickly fades. He did do miracles, like commanding the
storm to cease, or walking on the water. But all these were
designed to plant and build faith.
we have the faith of Jesus, it is also not to literally uproot
trees or move mountains, but to do the very works of Jesus,
and even greater ones that those. We then become effective
instruments for proclaiming his salvation and building his
Kingdom on earth.
we do have faith. After all we believe in Jesus and are Christians
striving to truly live the Christian life. Jesus says that
even with small faith, just the size of a mustard seed, we
can move mountains. What is this mountain-moving faith? What
is still lacking in the faith we now have? Jesus tells us,
“Have faith in God.” (Mk 11:22b). How?
we must not doubt God nor His power. We must know God to be
the Almighty, the Creator of all, the Mighty One who conquers
all. God raised Jesus from the dead, and defeated Satan and
evil. God provides us His Holy Spirit in order to enable us
to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. We act on this
firm knowledge. We act in the name of Jesus. We stand in his
place. We believe in all God’s promises. “Amen,
I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted
up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his
heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall
be done for him.” (Mk 11:23).
we ask in prayer. BE the friend of Jesus,
one who communicates and communes with him daily. Pray without
ceasing. Jesus assures us, “Therefore I tell you, all
that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive
it and it shall be yours.” (Mk 11:24). “Whatever
you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”
remain in Jesus. LIve the way of Jesus. Trust
in all his promises. Be holy as he is holy. Jesus assures
us, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
we forgive. We cannot truly effectively pray unless our hearts
and minds are clean--of anger, bitterness, hate, grievances.
Thus Jesus tells us, “When you stand to pray, forgive
anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly
Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”
(Mk 11:25). We are all sinners, but God forgives us when we
repent. To be another Christ, we must do the same for those
who sin against us.
Jesus talked about the mustard seed faith, he said, “If
your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive
him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns
to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should
forgive him.” (Lk 17:3b-4). Forgiveness favors the one
who forgives more than the one who is forgiven. It removes
any poison or bitterness in us. It makes us like Jesus who
forgave us all, even when we were sinners.
we love. This actually is a command. We are to love our neighbor
as ourselves. Jesus says, “This I command you: love
one another.” (Jn 15:17). We are not only individually
to be other Christs, but we are collectively the body of Christ.
We must be one in heart and mind in the love of Jesus. In
fact, as Paul says, “if I have all faith so as to move
mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor
In this Year of Faith, with the call to the New Evangelization,
we are to believe in Jesus, and we will do greater works than
he did. Because Jesus has already gone to the Father (Jn 14:12c),
and now it is our turn to continue his work of bringing salvation
to all. We are to EVangelize in the name
of Jesus. And we are assured by Jesus himself: “Amen,
amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name
he will give you.” (Jn 16:23b). We ask in faith. Jesus
challenges us, “Until now you have not asked anything
in my name; ask and you will receive” (Jn 16:24a-b).
know that God has called us and chosen us. By God’s
grace we are responding to His call. Jesus says, “It
was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed
you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (Jn 15:16a-b).
Jesus chose us, appointed us, and tells us to go. We obey
look to accomplishing the impossible. Can Europe be restored
to vibrant Christian faith? Can the culture of death be overcome
and the culture of life restored? Can we attain to the holiness
of God? Can we be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect?
Can we bring the salvation of God to the whole world?
can! Because it would be Jesus at work. We merely act in his
name. “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything
of me in my name, I will do it.” (Jn 14:13-14).
can! If we have faith. We pray and say to Jesus, “Increase
our faith.” (Lk 17:5). We BE.LI.EV.E!
Then our theme for 2013 will come to pass. “Amen, amen,
I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that
I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going
to the Father.” (Jn 14:12).