ETD - 21 June 2012

Evangelizing Thought of the Day (ETD): ““Increase our faith!” (Lk 17:5) is the Apostles' prayer to the Lord Jesus, when they realize that faith, which is a gift from God, is the only way of having a personal relationship with him and fulfilling their vocation as disciples. Their plea arose from an awareness that their limitations kept them from forgiving others. Faith is also needed in performing signs which illustrate the presence of the Kingdom of God in the world. Jesus used the fig tree, withered to its roots, to encourage his disciples. "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" (Mk 11:22-24). St. Mark the Evangelist also emphasizes the importance of faith in accomplishing great works. "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea', it will be done" (Mt 21:21).

On various occasions, the Lord Jesus admonishes "the Twelve" for their lack of faith. To the question of why they were unable to cast out a demon, the Master responds: "Because of your little faith" (Δια την όλιγοπιστίαν ύμών) (Mt 17:20). On the Sea of Tiberias, before calming the storm, Jesus reproves his disciples: "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?"(όλιγόπιστοι) (Mt 8:26). They were to entrust themselves to God and to Providence, and not worry about material things. "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?" (Mt 6:30; cf. Lk 12:28). A similar situation takes place before the multiplication of the loaves. Faced with the realization that the disciples had forgotten to take bread in crossing to the other side of the lake, the Lord Jesus says: "O men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?" (Mt16:8-9). Instrumentum Laboris: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith (June 2012), Preface, paragraphs 1 and 2.”

When the Lineamenta: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith (March 2011) was published, the document’s Preface began with the “Great Commissioning (Mt. 28:16-20)” and the imperative “Go into the whole world.” The Instrumentum Laboris begins with the disciples’ request for an increase of faith.

1). How do you describe faith?
2). What is significant about the Lineamenta beginning with the “Great Commissioning” and the Instrumentum Laboris beginning on the note of faith?

(Please share your responses via the Comment option).

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