The Lord Jesus called Francis to rebuild the Church when Francis was nobody in his society. He had already given up the prestige and wealth of his family. He didn’t have resources even to fix the little church he found damaged. How could he embark on renewing the whole Catholic Church?
My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
St Francis didn’t have any resources indeed; however he had faith of which the Lord Jesus spoke in the Gospel.
Firstly it was faith of an apostle, someone who has been sent by Jesus on a mission. St Luke in the Good News for this Sunday tells us that the request for an increase of faith came from the Apostles, the ones who are sent. They are not only disciples, they are not only followers of Jesus, they are now given a mission, they are to participate in the mission of the Son of God. However the more they witness Jesus the more they find themselves lacking many things to be part of Jesus’ mission. In the midst of that they discover that what is needed for mission is faith.
Secondly it is faith which makes apostles resemble Jesus. Apostles are the people who after doing everything don’t except anything for what they have done. Instead they say: ‘We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.’ To our modern understanding of justice and fairness it sounds unjust and unfair. That’s why we, who are called to be apostles in this place and at this time, need to make our own the prayer of the first Apostles of Jesus Christ: ‘Lord, increase our faith’ because it is easier to uproot a mulberry tree with its big root system and plant it in the sea then to move us out of our obsession with gratification for what we do. We need to ask Jesus Christ: ‘Lord, increase our faith’ so that what Jesus said at the Last Supper can be our way of living our Christian faith: ‘I didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.’
My Dear fellow apostles! The Bishop of Rome, the successor of St Peter the Apostle, has invited us to live this month of October 2019 as an extraordinary missionary month. It is a prophetic call for all of us to rediscover our call to be missionaries here and now, to rediscover that the Lord Jesus sends us to carry out his mission in our own time and in our own place. It can overwhelm us. We may feel inadequate. Let us then call upon the Lord: ‘Increase our faith’ so that we may accept as our own Jesus’ way of living and doing mission: ‘I didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.’
St Francis of Assisi, pray for us.