Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 11
Our Journey of Faith Teaches Us That God’s Spirit Will Always Be at Our Side – Strengthening Us, Guiding Us, Blessing Us, Even Carrying Us When Necessary for All That We Try to Do in the Most Holy Name of Jesus Christ.
“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” – words which we read from the Letter to the Hebrews today.
How do we live this gift of faith in our everyday activities? And how true do we hold to all that our faith teaches us as we live each day in the “real world” – struggling to make ends meet financially, struggling to survive in a world and in a society which tends to disdain and disparage anything which suggests a truly spiritual nature?
For each one of us, I am sure that we can attest to the fact that the faith to which we give witness, the faith which fills our hearts and souls with hope, is a pilgrimage – a journey which follows us from childhood to old age – a journey which oftentimes tests us as we travel the roadways through this vale of tears, through the many ups and downs we experience in life!
It is a journey which may even stretch our faith to its very limits, especially during those times in our lives when we experience the despair of a failed relationship, when we experience the loss of financial security or personal health, or when we experience the depths of grief over the loss of a loved one.
It is in those saddening and painful moments of our lives when it is easy for anyone of us to find ourselves feeling all alone. But it is also our faith which teaches us not to despair, for it is then when God is closest to us – holding us, supporting us, even carrying us in His arms if necessary – on this side of eternity!
And the author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance…By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country…By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age…” And “By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son.”
And it is this very faith about which we read today from the Book of Wisdom – that the God who made Himself known to His children would hold true to His promises.
In their hearts, those who were held in bondage and suffered at the hands of their taskmasters believed that the God of their fathers would not forsake the covenant He had once made with Abraham, and that their God would watch over and deliver them from their enemies.
In faith, they anticipated their deliverance by placing their trust in the promises God had made. And, in turn, God heard their prayers and their cries for help and brought to them an infant child who was once cast into the waters but saved –
– a boy who would one day grow up and see the Face of God but not die, a man whom God chose to become a great leader, a prophet through whom God would renew His Covenant of Love by saving His chosen people from slavery and returning them to the Promised Land!
Moses was this man from whom God expected much, for he was entrusted with much. Moses lived his faith the same as Abraham, trusting in God, believing in God’s providential Love – even if they never truly understood the depths of His Love, and all that God would accomplish for the sake of His people.
And we, ourselves, are called to live this same faith, believing and trusting in His unfathomable and indescribable Love for us. For it is in our Baptism that we are initially called by God to become co-heirs with His Son. It is in our Baptism that we are called to be faithful to the One who is always faithful to both you and me.
Jesus assures us in today’s Gospel, in the midst of trials and difficulties we may face in life, in the midst of sorrows and anxieties which may at times seem to overwhelm us, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”
What a wonderful promise! God delights in giving us His Kingdom – in taking us to be with Him forever! But before we see this promise realized, there IS a lot of waiting.
God promised Abraham a son, but look how long his childlessness stretched on before Isaac was finally born. And the Israelites knew God would defeat their enemies, but they had to wait out many plagues before Pharaoh finally let them go.
Similarly, we know that Jesus will knock at our door one day to take us to His side, but until that day comes, we must hold onto and live our faith as true and faithful disciples of God’s Only-Begotten Son.
It is good to know that we are not waiting in the dark with no idea of what it will be like when His Kingdom comes. Because of Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection, the Kingdom has already begun to unfold in our world and in our hearts!
We receive a glimpse of it every time we gather to worship our Lord at Mass and receive His Most Precious Body and Blood – the very Source and Summit of our life of faith. We see it in the least of His people, whose needs tug at the very depths of our hearts. We feel it when we forgive someone who has wronged us, and when we receive forgiveness from someone we have wronged.
But most of all, we experience His Kingdom in the selfless and self-sacrificing love we give to others, and in that same quality of unselfish love given to us. For it is within love where we experience the very Presence of God Himself, who selflessly gave of Himself for each and every one of us, even to the point of His own death on a Cross – in the Person of the Eternal Word made Flesh.
It is when we freely open our hearts to His Love, it is when we truly embrace the fullness of His Truth in all that He has taught us – in all that our Church instructs us – that we begin to fully realize what it means to be called by God to be a prophet in these ends times, both by word and example, and to truly live His words of life in all that we say, in all that we do.
As I had mentioned in the beginning of this reflection, this meditation upon today’s Scripture Readings, our life of faith is truly a journey, a pilgrimage of sorts – a process in which we grow to know and love God more each day, a process in which we grow in our understanding of what God is asking from each one of us.
And our Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that, as we progress through life, we should always remain vigilant, for, at an hour that we do not expect, God can call any one of us from this life.
But He also reminds us of something very important, something which many of us do not even give any thought to – with the gift of faith which we have received and freely embraced, there comes a responsibility.
And Jesus says to each of us today, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
By virtue of our Baptism into Christ, and strengthened through the Sacrament of Confirmation, each one of us is a member of the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ. And, as such, we are each called to become priest, prophet and king – an extension of Jesus Himself in the world around us in which we live, work and play.
For it is in our journey of faith where we find ourselves called to be all that our Lord needs us to be. We are each called to be our brother’s keeper; we are each called to love our brother and our sister as ourselves; and we are each called to help each other on the road to personal salvation.
When Peter asked, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”, Christ’s answer basically said, “It is for everyone.” And blessed is that person whom our Lord finds fulfilling all that is asked of him or her, for our journey of faith is truly a learning experience.
Abraham and Moses only had a cursory understanding of who their God was, but they responded with faith to all that was asked of them. Today, in the love relationship which we have with our God, we truly understand Him to be a God of Love and Mercy, a God of infinite compassion and understanding. But we also understand that, for God to be all this, He must also be a God of Justice.
And, in His Love and in His Justice, He asks that we freely live our life of faith each and every moment of our lives, not just for the sixty minutes one day a week in which most attend Mass or Sunday services.
And our Lord gives us today a very sobering thought concerning this matter, “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely.”
God knows our strengths and our weaknesses, and He would not ask anything of us that He knows we are unable to handle. However, when you and I take the time to truly appreciate all that God has done for us, how can we say “no” to whatever God may ask of us?
We know and believe that He will bless us with the grace and the strength to complete whatever mission God has planned for us – whether that mission be mother or father, clergy or religious, married or single, or even this Apostolate to which He has called this unworthy servant.
God calls each one of us to a life of holiness and to a life of service – whether that service entails parenting skills or maybe reaching out to others, whether they be sick or imprisoned, naked or hungry, alone or marginalized.
Whatever God calls us to become, we do so always in the Most Holy Name of Jesus Christ. And we remember His words today, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Our journey of faith teaches us that God’s Spirit will always be at our side – strengthening us, guiding us, blessing us, even carrying us when necessary for all that we try to do in His Most Holy Name.
When faced with difficulties in living her faith, Saint Mother Teresa would encourage others in their life of faith and was once quoted saying, “We are called not to be successful; we are called to be faithful.”
May our journey of faith in Jesus Christ be no less!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
- “…if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” (Romans 8:25-26)
- “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance…By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country…By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age…By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son.” (Hebrews 8:8a, 9a, 11a, 17)
- “That night [Passover] was known beforehand to our ancestors, so that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage.” (Wisdom 18:6)
- ” (Hebrews 10:23)
- “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
- “Insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20b)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
- “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (Luke 12:40)
- “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.” (Luke 12:47-48a)
- “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Luke 12:48bc)
Prayer for the Day
“Most Merciful and Loving Father,
Your Son suffered unbearable anguish;
He willingly poured out His Most Precious Blood
in fulfillment of Your Holy will because of my transgressions.
“I was born in sin, totally dependent upon Your Love.
My human nature is filled with so many faults
and I am prone to so much weakness.
And, yet, Your Son Jesus still died on His Cross – for me.
“I know Your grace has the power
to cleanse me of my many sins
and to make me more like Your Son.
“Thank you for Your goodness and love for me.
I humbly pray, Heavenly Father, in Your limitless Mercy,
please watch over and protect me always.
For it is in You alone where I feel secure and unafraid. Amen.”Anonymous