To read the texts click on the texts: Tit 1:1-9; Lk 17:1-6
There are three units in this section. The first concerns being a cause of scandal (17:1-2), the second is on forgiveness (17:3-4) and the third is on faith (17:5-6). This section is addressed to the disciples.
Since we are living in a sinful world, occasions for sin will continue to be present, but humans cause these and the one who is the cause for such an occasion must accept responsibility. In a striking metaphor in 17:2 about a millstone being hung around the neck of the one who causes scandal and he/she being cast into the sea, the Lucan Jesus makes the point that the one who is responsible for causing the scandal will not be able to escape the consequences of his/her action. Since this is a warning addressed to the disciples, the term “little ones” in this context must be interpreted as those who are just beginning to believe and so will need all the help that they can get to enhance their faith. These must not be scandalised.
The next unit concerns forgiveness, but also speaks of rebuking the one who commits sin. This has to with not turning a blind eye to the faults of others but challenging them to rise higher. It is a matter of “carefrontation” rather than confrontation, since it speaks also of forgiveness that must be granted if the offender repents. In order to drive home the point of forgiveness, the next verse (17:6) is the command of Jesus to forgive repeatedly even seven times in a day.
The final section begins with a plea to Jesus to increase their faith. This is an indication that faith is not static but dynamic and continues to grow. It also means that the Lord can give the grace required for faith to grow. In his response Jesus challenges them to reflect on whether they have faith at all. It is not a matter of little or great faith, but faith per se. If the faith of the disciples was even as small as a grain of mustard seed they could achieve the impossible.