19th Sunday of OT C

Obedient Faith by Fr. James McDonagh

Today's Scripture proposes that faith in God and trust in his promises give serenity, security and deep joy to our life. The first reading shows how the Hebrew patriarchs had such trust in God's promise that they left all their worries into his care. Then we are told in particular how Abraham responded with a persevering faith when God asked him to leave the past behind and launch out into an unknown future.

The Gospel reaffirms that a person who belongs to Jesus need have no fear. One who makes God his principal treasure, and commits in faith to Christ as guide to living, can, like Abraham, see life as a journey that leads to our true home where a loving Father is there to welcome us. If we keep our eyes fixed on the vision that God has revealed and keep our ears attuned to the voice of God whether in the scriptures, or in the ordinary events of daily life, we can live with unfailing confidence in his presence.
On the other hand, the same Scriptures also show that the God who grants such favours to his chosen ones is also a demanding God. If the saints of the Scriptures had many proofs of God's love, they also experienced much suffering both as individuals and as a race.  Often their faith was seriously put to the test, like that of Abraham and his wife Sarah, when it seemed that the promise of children could never be realized. Later, Abraham, in great anguish of mind, was put to the test by the command to slay his son; his response showed the depths of his obedient faith, the light that guided his whole life.
God expects his chosen ones to be always on the alert, striving to please him and using their talents to promote his kingdom on earth.  A faith in the Lord that is merely at the level of words and does not lead to action is not real faith. The kind of faith that has value in God's sight is the one that leads to obedience and loving service.

The spirituality of Abraham ruggedly trying out to follow God's call in the obscurity of faith remains basic for Christian faith. We do not know in advance how God's demanding love may make demands will clash with our ingrained selfishness. We cannot know when personal illness, bereavement or some other trying experience will put us to the test. But we do know that our life will be a success if we set our hearts on values that go beyond all the transitory goods of this world. Our faith, like Abraham's, is leading us onward, always pointing to something still to come, and at the end of our pilgrimage, like his, all God's promises will be fulfilled.

Weekend Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Nguyen

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