Tiny Faith, Great Joy

First Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4

How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
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.
The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“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.

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”



Have you ever seen a real mustard seed? Not the ones you find at the grocery store, but a real Jerusalem mustard seed. It is so small, like a little speck, as small as a tiny piece of dirt or grain of sand. It is so small that it is able to be easily lost if you don’t keep your eyes on it while holding it on your finger.

While working as a catechist for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, I presented the parable of the mustard seed to a young three year old boy. We read the Scripture and then opened the box, and I placed one tiny mustard seed on his little pointer finger. Seeing the seed, his face lit up with an indescribable joy I have never seen anyone express. His smile was so big it seemed that it might somehow extend even off of his face. In fact, in a sense it did, because his joy and illuminated the entire room as he looked at the mustard seed, smiling and smiling and smiling and then breaking into laughter his joy was so great it could not be contained. “It’s so TINY!” he said looking at the mustard seed and then up at me then back again at the tiny seed. He just kept smiling and smiling and then laughing as he delighted in the existence of the little seed. This went on for some time, his face radiating with sheer delight as he basked in the joy he felt. For a long time we simply smiled and laughed together, delighting in the presence of this little seed.

Sometimes life can be so painful and rough and it can be so hard to allow ourselves to delight in the little things. “How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen!” the First Reading cries out with such honesty of how often might feel. Life often times does not turn out according to the vision we had in mind. But “the vision still has its time . . . and will not disappoint . . . wait for it . . . .  The just one because of his faith, shall live.”

All we need is a little—tiny faith as small as a mustard seed. And like that young boy, in seeing and recognizing the goodness and power of something so tiny, we also will be open to experience great great joy.

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Lord Jesus, increase our faith. Open our eyes to truly see your goodness and power present in your creation. May we respond to your gifts with great joy and delight. Amen.

Mary Catherine Craige is a lover of creativity and learning new things. When she is not guiding the development of young children through Montessori methods, you can find her behind her harp, taking an art class, or writing in her journal. You can find out more about her here.

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