In the very first line of today’s gospel the apostles look for an increase in their faith from Jesus. We are not told why they make this request. Perhaps it results from an encounter or experience in their daily lives that has challenged their faith in God. Or simply that they feel weighed down with those highs and lows of daily living that we all encounter from time to time.
Using the mustard seed as an example Jesus tells them that even the tiniest grain of faith has the potential to grow into something big and strong. But, he also makes it clear that faith demands trust from us. Trust in God, in his word and in his providence.
Many of the Saints experienced a crisis of faith at some point in their lives. St. John of the Cross once wrote of ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’. When our belief is tested we can come away from the experience with a deeper and stronger faith than we had before. Through the passage of time we realise that God was actually with us in the midst of our pain, difficulty or sadness and had never abandoned us. However, when we are in the midst of a crisis we often fail to see or recognise that.
As the last line of today’s gospel tells us, we are the Lord’s servants and merely doing his work. He does not owe us any gratitude for our service. We should always be thankful to God for all of his gifts to us.