To read the texts click on the texts: Wis18:6-9; Heb11:1-2, 8-19; Lk 12:32-48
man was praying one day and used these words in his prayer: “Lord, let me first
see and then I will believe.” He heard the Lord reply to him: “First believe,
then you will see.” Faith believes without seeing.
is one of the major themes of the readings of today. The text from the Letter
to the Hebrews begins with a definition of faith and then goes on to give the
example of Abraham, a pioneer of faith. In this text, two major events in
Abraham’s life are cited to show what faith really is.
first of these events is the promise of land that God made. Though a sojourner
and wanderer, Abraham believed that, if God made a promise, that promise would
be fulfilled. And, it was. Thus, faith is not simply the belief that God
exists, but is a loving trust that God will work only for a person’s good.
second event is the promise of progeny. Though both he and his wife were old,
he believed that, if God promised him descendants as numerous as the stars in
the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore, it would be so. And, it was.
Faith hopes. Faith looks beyond the present moment to a future that is held in
God’s hands. Faith is tenacious and enduring. Faith is able to accept promises
deferred in the firm knowledge that God always fulfils the promises made.
is the faith to which Jesus invites his disciples, in the Gospel text of today,
when he asks them to be ready and persevering. Since the future is indeed in
God’s hands, the disciples must live in the present in such a manner that they
are always ready. The loins of the disciples must be girded which means
literally that they must draw up the long outer garment and tuck it into the
sash around their waist or hips so as to be prepared for vigorous activity.
This readiness is achieved when the disciples do that which they are meant to
do. This means that they will not let distractions, fatigue, or delays divert
them from their duties. The disciples must make the fulfillment of what their
master has asked them to do their highest obligation and their greatest
concern. Since they do not know when the master will come, they have to
persevere in the firm knowledge that he will, indeed, come. The outcome of such
devotion to duty is that, when the master does come, he will become slave for
is not coerced. The disciples are not forced to do what they do not want to do.
As a matter of fact, if they decide to do something, they must do so freely.
Abraham was willing to leave behind a life of apostasy and accommodation to the
values and mores of the culture within which he lived. The disciples of Jesus
must be willing to give up temporary material things for a treasure that lasts
forever. Abraham was free to return to the land he left behind with its
temporal pleasures just as the disciples are free to return to the material
life. The decision is entirely up to them and they are free to decide, one way
or another. This is not an easy choice to make since the material world holds
many attractions; one is always tempted to return. Also, it is not always easy
to see, as clearly as one would like, the advantages of the treasure that lasts
forever. It is not always easy to persevere. This, however, remains the
challenge of faith.
challenge is mentioned in the first reading of today which speaks of the
deliverance of the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians. God had promised
release to the captives and God was faithful to the promise made. It was not
always easy for the Israelites to see and they were tempted on numerous
occasions to give up and give in. However, the promise was fulfilled and they
were set free.
is indeed, as the letter to the Hebrews points out, the assurance of things
hoped for and the convictions of things not seen. It is a call and a challenge
to believe, even when all evidence is to the contrary and things do not seem to
go the way we want. It is a call and a challenge to persevere, even when we are
tempted to give up because the road ahead is too steep and the going too
difficult. It is a call and a challenge to keep our feet firmly in the present
with a confident eye on the future. It is a call and a challenge to believe and
to know that the future is in God’s capable hands and that we have nothing to
fear. We need only do what we are called to do in the present and to believe.
as God was faithful to his promises to the Israelites at the time of their
exodus and to Abraham with regard to the land and progeny, and just as Jesus
was faithful to his promises to his disciples, so will God be faithful to us.
Will we dare to have faith? Will we dare to believe?