Grace to you!
If you recall since Monday last week, our reflections for weekdays (Monday through Saturday) have centered on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The Letter to the Romans is what is in our Catholic first reading for weekdays for the weeks 28 to 31st this year. So we will continue to explore the spiritual food from this first reading until the end of the Letter in November 11.
Today, once again we read about the faith example of Abraham. Saint Paul uses Abraham as one of the case studies to prove to us how faith evolves and how it endures.
In the case of Abraham, we read of the challenges he faced. Romans 4:19-20 precisely refers to two issues that could have shaken the faith of anyone. First was the physical health of Abraham “which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old” (Rom 4:19). The second was the barrenness of his wife Sarah, who had long past the age of childbearing and therefore could not possibly get pregnant (Rom 4:19).
These two instances have one common denominator: They reveal the complete hopeless situation where, by human power, it would be impossible to have a child. Abraham didn't allow the situation to dampen his faith in divine promise. His was trust against all trusts. Hope against all hopes.
As an aside lesson: You know you truly have faith when things aren't going smoothly or as you had planned and expected and yet you keep trusting that your faith in God is your ultimate strength. Recently, a man whose domestic problems literally disrobed him of the things he had relied upon shared with me some faith nuggets. He said he came to discover the true gem of faith in the ability to hang in there when there seemed no physical reason to do so. Beautiful way to describe a faith-experience.
About the case of Abraham, Saint Paul also makes a point that is crucial in these five verses under consideration. Newman and Nida’s commentary to the verses is a wonderful insight. For them, the point here is a kind of typology between Abraham believing against the power of dead cells to give life (because of his old age and Sarah’s, who was past the age of child bearing) and Christian belief in the same God who gives life from the dead (death and resurrection of Jesus). This unites us to Abraham (Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1973). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Romans. New York: United Bible Societies. p. 89).
The same God, who raised Jesus from the dead, guarantees us that faith in Him is to build on a solid foundation that justifies and endures. Our faith takes us or lifts us from the dark despair of human limitations into the glory of the Risen Lord.
I wonder what life would mean if one has no faith?
Praying for the increase of faith.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Week 29 Ordinary Time A: Rom 4:20-25; Lk 12:13-21]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.