Dear OLPH Family and Friends,

On this 19th “Sunday in ordinary Time the readings call us to be a people of faith. Faith,

St. Paul tells us “is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.”  Let us compare ourselves with the example of Abraham as depicted in our second reading.

There God asks a series of risky deeds from Abraham.  Travel to a land that you will someday inherit.   Pass through great deserts and villages full of strangers;  dwell in temporary shelters all the way; and harshest of all, believe that your wife Sarah will at last conceive and give birth, even though, in your old age, you are both “as good as dead,” as Paul puts it.

It gets worse, not better.   God orders Abraham to make the bloody sacrifice of his precious son, Isaac, born at last to the couple’s ancient age.   Offer to me his death, God said.  Yet God had given a promise.   He had said that Abraham was going to have “descendants as numerous as the sands on the seashore” by Sarah.   Many people think that in this scene God was simply asking for obedience from Abraham.   But in fact He was asking that Abraham remember and rely on the love and the promise that God had shown over all the years.  Our reading tells us he “thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.”

Even though God’s command seemed completely impossible and even outrageous, Abraham relied completely on the steady reality of God’s loving kindness.   He had faith and remained always faithful.  In our more difficult times we always want to be mindful of God’s faithfulness to us.

Last week’s readings and today’s both remind us that we must be ready at all times.  Jesus reminds us that His desire is for us to be with Him forever in His Father’s Kingdom.  Whereas we must all face judgment and we must always be ready for that event this is not a time for panic.  Jesus, by His cross and resurrection has already placed one of our feet in heaven.  All we have to do, in faith, is to allow Him to bring the rest of our life into that Kingdom.  With faith like Abraham’s we can do it.  With faith like Abraham’s we trust that the God who created us chooses not to lose anyone He has created.  With faith we will choose the right way, the better way. May God bless, preserve and keep us!

Fr. Ron