Jesus teacing his disciples (Authority)



BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara



(WISDOM 18:6-9, HEBREWS11:1-2,8-19; LUKE 12:32-48)

The religious tradition we have as Christians did not start with Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham. It began long ago as God prepared the world through Judaism. Jesus was born into this root. Our two readings take us back in history to our spiritual beginning. This second reading begins a new section of the Letter to the Hebrews, takes us back to almost 19th century before Christ, praising the faith or the faithfulness of the ancestors of Israel. In this chapter each paragraph begins, ‘By faith…’; the Greek puts it with firm and striking emphasis eighteen (18) times, and at beginning and end of the chapter (v. 2 and 39): ‘it was for this that our ancestors were commended’. In each of the paragraphs one of the ancestors is praised or is said to have achieved ‘righteousness’ by acting purely on God’s promise. The first reading takes us back to the time when God’s people in faith, left Egypt to head for the promised land under the leadership of Moses.

Without faith, of course, the Bible makes no sense at all, and this recital of the reliance of the patriarchs on faith is an inspiring testimony of the decision of each one of them across the gamut of biblical history to put their whole trust in the promises of God. It started with the chosen one to the chosen people of the Jews ‘kahal Yahweh’ to the people born into baptism. The community of the chosen people is a community built on the foundation of faith. It is faith that characterizes us as God’s people and consequently manifests itself through our professions, actions, and activities. This same faith aided our adoption as sons and daughters of God sharing the same Father and heritage with Jesus Christ.

Without Faith we have no claim or place among the chosen people. Faith is like the DNA that identifies people of the same lineage or family. Faith is our proof of paternity to one common Father. However, as the elect of God, Christ warns us to be prepared. This is a conditio sine qua non for us to retain our heritage. If we are caught napping, we might be in danger of losing this exalted position. Being prepared is not something we can fake or make happen at the last minute. It is the way we live in faith and love which is its practical expression. Faith and love are not superficial attitudes that have no substance. They are attitudes that guide us to live our life every day the way Jesus taught us.

Each of us today is making his or her own journey. It might be toward graduation, toward or in marriage, toward or in a new carrier, toward improved health, toward retirement or on retirement or it might be just a matter of trying to survive the stresses of each day. The point here is that we are in constant motion. As we say, “Every day, every moment, every hour, every second we move closer to our grave”. We are unable to stand still in life, and if we try, we will eventually discover that we are going backward because if you stop moving the world will not stop. We know from everyday experience that if it is a better place we are moving toward, we need to adequately prepare ourselves for it.

My beloved chosen people, we must live lives that bear testimony to our Father and heritage, a life that will attract and interest our master during His Parousia. This life is a life of watchfulness! Watchfulness here simply means being conscious of who we are, cherishing and safeguarding our heritage and its distinguishing character, OUR FAITH! It is only through this that we can be that “happy people the Lord has chosen as his own.”
God bless you

Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara

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