By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
Jesus said, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through who they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard!” (Lk 17:1). What was the disciple’s response? “Increase our faith.”
How much faith does it take to believe that Jesus is truly, substantially present in the consecrated bread and wine? Less than a tiny mustard seed. “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” (Lk 17:5). But how much faith does it take to believe that Jesus is really and truly present in my brother, in my sister? I think that takes a little more.
The call to live the life of a Christian, to follow the way of life taught by Jesus, hinges on one thing, love; this is non-negotiable. Love of God and love of neighbor…all the other commandments are fulfilled in these. Yet, this love of neighbor command is a difficult thing to do. Our vision is blurred by sin, ours and theirs. The image of God in us and them is distorted. We can’t see Jesus in others when they are hurting us, and others can’t see Jesus in us when we are hurting them. When our eyes are blurred by sin, we need to look with the eyes of faith.
“Faith will tell us Christ is present when our human senses fail” (Tantum Ergo). It is in the Blessed Sacrament that we find the gift of faith we seek. It is in receiving Jesus, who brings with Him “every spiritual blessing in the heavens’ (Eph 1:3), that we receive the eyes to see Him in our neighbor, and in ourselves. We begin with the tiniest assent of faith and exclaim with the disciples, “Increase our faith!” So, let us be on our guard. Let us gather the faith we have, and with one word, Amen, uproot our sins and plant them in the sea of Christ’s mercy, so that we may never cause one of these little ones to sin.