“Truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
It’s not just one mountain but rather three huge mountains that stand before us as we travel through this lifetime on our way to the Kingdom of heaven. They are: Greed, vanity, and the desire for pleasures. They are constant obstacles that get in our way and make it so difficult to advance towards the place where our Lord is waiting for us. And the plentitude of life’s comforts and our modern life style raise those mountains higher and higher.
The union leader, Samuel Gompers, in a bargaining session with management was asked, after several fruitless and endless negotiations: “Well, what exactly do you want?” His answer was a single word: “More!” He spoke not only for the workers he represented, but also for all of us contemporary consumers. Listen to the athletes who play kids’ games for the entertainment of our nation-they have no loyalty to a team of a city, they couldn’t possibly spend all the millions of dollars that they are handed for their talents—yet they hold out, refuse to come to terms, because they say that they “always deserve more.” Remember the CEO’s of some of our nation’s most prestigious companies who sold their souls and lost their integrity by fleecing their own workers because they never had enough of money.
What of the rest of us? Are we ever satisfied with our houses, automobiles, wearing apparel or places where we visit? The advertising industry utilizes our innate greed in order to sell us items that we don’t need, food that we would do better without eating, and entertainment that wastes our time and precludes us from growing intellectually and spiritually.
Vanity makes us ridiculous in others’ eyes, and radiant in our own. Ancient cultures honored the aged as treasures of wisdom and sources of inspiration. Our culture demands an impossible goal—to age in reverse. Women are encouraged to strive for the figure they had as teenagers, the complexion they had on their wedding day, and the hair of a young girl. Golden-aged grandpas are sold high-powered hot rods and pretend they just passed their driver’s license exam.
And of course there is no end of the supposed earthly delights that come in full color, electrified in our day. The yearning for ever new and varied pleasures is the cause of the many sins of the flesh infecting our families and communities in our time: adultery, divorce, the gay life style, sexual promiscuity, leading to AIDS, abortions, finally death.
Faith sounds like such a little feeble word. How can it change all the above? And our Lord says we need just a little of it—as much as a miniscule mustard seed, hardly visible. But it performs positively what a cancer cell does negatively. It eventually takes over the entire system, demanding that every thought and action be measured against the will of the heavenly Father. Is this what our Lord Jesus would do? Is this what my guardian angel is praying that I will choose? Is the Holy Spirit at work through my mind, body and soul to lead me through these thoughts and activities to the Kingdom of God?
When I walk in the Spirit of the Lord, those great mountains of obstacles that seemed at first so insurmountable have been flattened, an interstate highway opens to me, and in St. Paul’s words, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)