When the Apostles say “Increase our faith” Jesus probably let out a huge sigh. “Now what do they want? Haven’t you seen what we have been doing?” “Increase our faith.” “Take a look at all that has been going on and you increase it yourself.” “To think that you need more faith is just an excuse for you not even using all that you have.” “Now you want more just to continue doing what you are supposed to do? Doing what we set out to do?”
I mentioned last week that since February, twenty one Sundays ago, (not including the Sundays of Lent or Easter) Luke has had us following Jesus. He says very clearly that Jesus resolutely determines to set his face toward Jerusalem.
And what Jesus knows, is that the cross awaits him there.
After praying alone on a mountaintop, he comes down from the mountain and stands in front of the people. And Luke begins his Sermon on the Plain. And so he starts to teach us, a lot, and quickly introduces us to a marvelous carousel of characters. Our teachers in the faith.
More than likely the people who followed the Lord did so out of curiosity, maybe to spy on him, perhaps they didn’t have anything else to do, or really did want hope and an increase in faith. The thing is, is that we all know these characters and teachers, because they are us.
We all have friends and enemies, know sinners and saints; we are teachers and students, know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. We know Samaritans who don’t welcome or care for strangers, but remember those who take care of them; we call them, “good.” We know those who labor at the harvest, and those who go out to the harvest because the harvest is plenty, and the laborers are few.
We know those who have a moneybag and sandals and those who don’t. We invite the stranger into our homes so that we might learn from them or we shake the dust of our feet upon them after their long journey.