What are we to make of that?
Even though the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith they’re still over-estimating the size of the faith that they do have. They think they have faith but Jesus raises the bar, he raises the standard; “were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you.” Jesus is telling them that their faith is not even the size of a mustard seed!
In the second piece they’re over estimating their goodness. So Jesus tells the story of the servant who having worked hard all day in the fields is then expected to make himself tidy, lay his master’s supper and wait on him before he eats himself… and he is then required to say; no big deal, I’m merely a servant. Again he’s raising the standard… it feels like injustice.
All this means:
If we stroll up to Heaven thinking that we’ve both faith and goodness “to beat the band” we’ll be in trouble because God’s standard is so much higher.
If we approach Heaven humbly, relying on Gods mercy rather than our sense of our faith and goodness – which is almost always inflated and an expression of the human ego – we’ll have a much better chance of gaining entry.
I’m a big fan of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Forget about the caricatures – just read his writings. I did, and he became a spiritual father to me! Here’s an example of why I rate him so highly:
“While there are many motives that might have led a great number of people to seek refuge in the traditional liturgy, the chief one is that they find the dignity of the sacred preserved there… We ought to get back the dimension of the sacred in the liturgy. The liturgy is not a festivity; it is not a meeting for the purpose of having a good time. It is of no importance that the parish priest has cudgeled his brains to come up with suggestive ideas or imaginative novelties. The liturgy is what makes the Thrice-Holy God present among us; it is the burning bush; it is the Alliance of God with man in Jesus Christ, who has died and risen again. The grandeur of the liturgy does not rest upon the fact that it offers an interesting entertainment, but in rendering tangible the Totally Other, whom we are not capable of summoning. He comes because He wills. In other words, the essential in the liturgy is the mystery, which is realized in the common ritual of the Church; all the rest diminishes it. Men experiment with it in lively fashion, and find themselves deceived, when the mystery is transformed into distraction, when the chief actor in the liturgy is not the Living God but the priest or the liturgical director.”
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 13 July 1988