for Sunday, August 7, 2016
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. - The Letter to the Hebrews gives us a good sense of the readings for this Sunday. Faith is the dominant theme and believing in what we have not seen underlines our faith in the Lord.
The first reading is from the Book of Wisdom and gives us insights into how to believe: God will save us and we must trust in God. For many of us, it is a challenge to believe that God is always with us and that in whatever happens, He is present. Yet our faith must bring us to that point over and over. We cannot expect God to be a magician who makes everything wonderful. That is not the promise of our God. Our God promises to be with us and to help us in the struggle against our foe. We will prevail, always, but only at the spiritual level. If we keep our lives and lose our faith, we are lost. If we lose our lives and keep our faith, we are blessed.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Hebrews and gives us an account of the faith of Abraham, who we call "our father in faith." Abraham becomes a model for us to go on trusting. Abraham trusted over and over and eventually all that the Lord promised to him was completed. God invites each of us to follow Him in the foolishness of faith, believing that loving and servicing God and our neighbors will bring us true happiness and also salvation. If we can be still in the presence of God and hear His voice and follow Him, we too will have happiness in this life and in the next.
The Gospel of Luke brings us back to the struggle to obey God. Luke tells us "where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." We can ask ourselves: "where is my heart, what is my treasure." Answering that will give us immense knowledge about ourselves and we will also see the direction of our lives.
We can find ourselves like the servant who decides that God is not going to come any time soon and so begins to live a life not in accordance with the word of God. Or we can be prudent servants who know that God can come at any moment and who then strive to be faithful.
The readings invite us to commit ourselves again to the Lord and to His word. We may not be perfect yet, but we know the road and can keep walking, no matter how often we fail. Just as our ancestors knew that God loved them, so we also know that God loves us. Walking in faith, we allow this love to shape our lives.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Wisdom 18.6-9
Second Reading: Hebrews 11.1-2, 8-19
Gospel: Luke 12.32-48
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: