HOMILY FOR THE 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: UNDERSTANDING FAITH BEYOND WORDS.
BY: Fr A. N. Abiagom, CM.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 7 2022
Readings: Wisdom 18:6-9; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12:35-40.
1. When we talk of “faith” or hear about “faith”, what comes to mind? The Catechism of the Church elucidated “Faith” as “a supernatural gift of God which enables us to believe without doubting whatever God has revealed to us.” Heb 11:1 explicates faith as “an assurance of things hoped for and certainty of things yet unseen.”
In the first reading from the book of Wisdom, it is stated that the ancestors of Israel had a foreknowledge of the passover (the movement of God through the Land of Egypt at night which brought destruction to the Egyptians and Salvation to the Israelites as contained in Exodus 12-13). Sequel to their foreknowledge of this salvific event in relation to them, the text further notes that they “had knowledge of the oath in which they put their faith or trust” (Wis 18:6).
2. The knowledge the Israelite’s ancestors had, came from their hearing the message of God delivered to them through Moses. One does not simply have faith in nothing. There has to be the object of one’s faith, and this presupposes the knowledge of at least, the existence or certainty of that object. Romans 5:1, talks about Christ as the “Object of Faith.”
3. In the second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, the faith of Abraham is given as a paradigm. Abraham’s faith began by his hearing from God who asked him to leave his Fathers house for the land he would be shown (Gen 12:1).¹ Following his knowledge of the object of his faith, Abraham demonstrated his faith in four ways as implicit in the Second reading:
(i.) Obedience: He obeyed God and left his Father’s house and Country for the land he is to be shown (Heb 11:8).
He remained steadfast in his journey while following divine direction unto the land which has “God as its architect and maker” (v. 9).
(iii) Trust and Readiness: Abraham’s faith was climaxed by his trust and readiness to offer Isaac, (son of the promise) as a sacrifice unto the LORD (vv. 17-19)
(iv) Love: Abraham’s demonstration of his faith in his obedience, steadfastness, trust and readiness in doing the will of God expresses his love for God above all things. Authentic faith is love in action.
4. The theme of readiness which presupposes the aforementioned three themes in light of the implication of “Faith” in the Second reading, is strongly evident in the gospel reading from Luke. Readiness through preparation for the coming of the Lord cannot be possible without faith in the Lord and in his coming.
5. Therefore, when we talk about faith, knowledge, obedience Steadfastness, trust and “readiness” in light of its practicality in “good works” (love), cannot be overemphasized.
Beyond words, now is the time for Christians to live out their faith by their good works. Faith is a lived experience in the love of God and neighbour. We cannot say we have faith when the love of God is not present in our lives, families, churches and communities. Our faith should be demonstrated in our forgiving one another and assisting each other in all positive ramifications. Faith is beyond shouting “Praise the Lord” and responding “Alleluia!”
Happy Sunday dear friends.