The readings of today invite us to nurture great faith in the Lord God who is our Creator, Master and Saviour. However much we may feel discouraged at times, or even lose sight of the path to follow, let the spirit not dry up within us. We have to persevere in faith.

In the First Reading (Hab 1: 2-3; 2: 2-4), Prophet Habakkuk voices the feelings of the people; in his lamentations, he resembles Job and Jeremiah. He wonders if the Lord has forgotten His people, especially the just and the innocent ones. They cry for help but He does not hear; they are about to be destroyed, but He does not save! Finally, Habakkuk conveys a divine message: ‘If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, but the righteous shall live by his faith.’

What a lesson for those of little faith! We expect God to do things for us, but what is our contribution to extending His Kingdom on earth? Do we heed His commandments? Do we stand by Him at all times? Jesus tells those who want Him to increase their faith, ‘If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, “Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea”,’ and it would obey.

On the other hand, praying with faith does not mean imposing one’s personal wishes on Him who has given us that gift; praying with faith means readiness to accept His doctrine and His divine will. Yet, let none think we have done God a favour. In a spirit of love and deep humility, we must believe ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty,’ as the Gospel (Lk 17: 5-10) tells us. This can never be overstated, because it is human tendency to be self-satisfied that they have visited the sick, clothed the naked, fed the hungry!

The Church teaches that both faith and good works are necessary for salvation. Sometimes we are more concerned about showing love to our neighbour but care not about loving God. We take Him for granted. Very often, we fail to speak and stand for Him. Hence, the relevance of St Paul’s exhortation to Timothy (2 Tim 1: 6-8; 13-14): ‘… for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed, then, of testifying to our Lord… guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.’

That’s not always an easy thing to do, but with His help, we can! The Word of God demands great commitment. Moreover, there are secular ideologies at work, which are hostile to Christianity, and render Christian living difficult. Hence, it is important for a pastor that Timothy was, to preserve and faithfully transmit the doctrine of the faith. In a broader perspective, it is a timeless message for all of us who are priest, prophet and king, and have received ‘the gift of God’, the charisms that lie within us. We must not leave them idle; we have to rekindle them.