Commentary on upcoming Sunday Readings: 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, cycle C

faith Hebrews

1st Reading – The Book of Wisdom 18: 6-9

The Book of Wisdom, written in the century before the birth of Jesus at Alexandria (one of the great centers of learning in the ancient world), aimed to strengthen the faith of the Jewish community living in the diaspora.  The diaspora were communities outside of the Holy Land through Asia Minor where the Jewish people were more influenced by Hellenistic culture.  They seemed to be more progressive and were very important to the early church.  In this reading, the author reflects on God’s abiding presence and constant saving action among the people.  There is an attitude of watchful readiness, which we will see in the Gospel reading too  (Foundations in Faith, p. 176).

With faith comes courage.  We have a God that will never disappoint, that will never leave us.  We must rely on God like “holy children of the good”.  How does that image speak to you?  God summons (arouses, beckons, gathers, rallies) us…for God’s glory.  How do you find this true in your life?

2nd Reading – Hebrews 11: 1-2, 8-19

The 11th chapter of this letter is sometimes called ‘the roll call of the heroes of faith.’ Yet, these great figures of salvation history are brought forth, not for their heroism, but for their ‘faith’ which is here closely linked with hope.  Faith is taking God at his word when he promises his love and help for the now and for the future. These Old Testament people became examples to early Christians (and to us) for the New Israel – the new wandering people of God – called into God’s kingdom – now and into the future. We are all called to imitate Abraham who “went out, not knowing where he was to go.” He lived trusting himself and his family to God’s promises and love. (Reginald Fuller,  http://liturgy.slu.edu )

Faith is about working with and living toward your dreams. Faith in a God who loves us and wants and works for our good and the good of all – provides us with the hope that we need to help make ‘good dreams’ come true. It’s like buying a guitar in hopes of making music – and then using that hope to work toward this goal. The most important part of a dream is believing in it. (Exploring the Sunday Readings, August 2010)

In your life, how many dreams have become realities so far?   Have you ever prayed about God’s dream for you?

The Gospel – Luke 12: 32-48

This gospel is not about an ending…but a beginning.  Be prepared…for something wonderful.  Be prepared…for God to come into your life.  Be prepared…to open the door to Christ, let him in, and to serve him.  Are we ready for whatever God wants us to do with our lives?  Are we looking for Him, anticipating Him?  Are we ready to give Him what He wants and needs – our time, our talent, even, perhaps, our lives?  (Hungry, and You Fed Me, p. 206)

“Gird your loins.”  The long flowing robes of the east were a hindrance to work;  and when a man prepared to work he gathered up his robes under his girdle to leave himself free for activity.  We would like God to find us with our work completed.  Life for so many of us is filled with loose ends…the things put off and the things not even attempted.  Keats wrote,

“When I have fears that I may cease to be

Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain.”

There is nothing so fatal as to feel that we have plenty of time  (Barclay’s The Gospel of Luke, p. 171-172).  What will you do with your time?  It matters!

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