One Thing from Mass

OTfM Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the letter to the Hebrews, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I have always struggled with my faith: how to find it, what to do to strengthen it, how to not lose it. Faith is a gift from God, but it also demands action. Like Abraham leaving his home for a foreign land, I must not just stand idly, waiting for God to strike me with a lightning bolt of faith. It is only through daily effort that my journey toward true faith can occur.

Years ago I completed the Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults: RCIA. It was actually a rather unusual and unexpected turn of events for me, as I had fallen away from my Catholic roots many years earlier while in middle school. During one of the classes, I asked the Deacon what faith was. It was an honest question, especially since I didn’t have much of a clue. His answer, “faith is a gift from God,” was also honest, and true as well, but it did little to help me. I was looking for guidance, some kind of advice, that would help me along the way.

Since then, I have learned that the journey toward faith is as important, perhaps even more so, than the destination. This may seem like a platitude, but when it is lived in earnest – explored, investigated, weighed and measured – it becomes the best illumination of faith I have found. The reading from Hebrews today brought all these thoughts back to mind. I certainly don’t imagine that I’m the first to have struggled with the difficulty of attaining true faith; even Saint Peter abandoned and denied Jesus on the eve of His crucifixion. So I keep moving forward, participating in Mass, reading books, listening to Catholic Radio, and attempting to live an authentic faith of my own. It has not been an easy road, and I have no reason to believe it will become easier in the future. But ease is not really the point.

Whenever I complained about some perceived injustice, my dad responded with “whoever said life was fair?” Whenever I read about someone who achieved a conviction of faith, or meet someone with a deep faith I find enviable, I try to remind myself that the perspective I hold is not the whole story, nor even a small part of it. Each of us must move toward God at his or her own pace, hindered or helped by the world around us or those whom we meet. But no matter how the process proceeds, if it is moving forward even inchingly, then it is proper to speak of “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Small Rosary

Readings for August 7, 2016

Reading 1          Wisdom 18:6-9

The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers,
that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
they might have courage.
Your people awaited the salvation of the just
and the destruction of their foes.
For when you punished our adversaries,
in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.

Responsorial Psalm          Psalms 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22

R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading 2          Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

Gospel          Luke 12:35-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”