Reflections

Friday of 27th Week of the Year, October 9, 2020

FAITH OF OUR FATHER ABRAHAM
Introduction
Abraham, our Father in the faith, was a man who lived according to the gospel before Jesus proclaimed his Good News. He trusted God; he followed God’s call without questioning God and demanding proofs. All he got was a promise to believe in, and of that promise he himself – as God told him – would never see the fulfillment. His progeny would.
In sharp contrast, with Abraham, the people of the promise in Jesus’ time challenged and questioned him, especially the religious leaders. Even the signs of liberation from evil that Jesus gave them did not impress them as signs to believe in. What is our attitude toward the signs of God’s care in our lives?

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
faith is all that matters to save us.
We know it, and yet we seek proofs.
Help us to believe in you
on seeing your works:
your creation, your power,
your goodness that we encounter in people.
Grant us to live in trust
with the uncertain certainty of faith,
believing, hoping, loving
and trusting that you have set us free
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

1 Reading: Galatians 3:7-14
Brothers and sisters: Realize that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham. Scripture, which saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, Through you shall all the nations be blessed. Consequently, those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham who had faith. For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law. And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear, for the one who is righteous by faith will live. But the law does not depend on faith; rather, the one who does these things will live by them. Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree, that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Responsorial Psalm PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights. R.

Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD. R.

He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations. R.

Alleluia John 12:31B-32
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The prince of this world will now be cast out,
and when I am lifted up from the earth
I will draw all to myself, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Luke 11:15-26
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armour on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. “When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

Commentary
Who are the true descendants of Abraham? This is the question that Paul raises in today’s reading from Galatians. The answer, of course, is those who have faith. In fact, Abraham was told that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in him. This means those who have faith, as Abraham did, not those who attempt to obey the law. In fact, those subject to the law are under a curse. Scripture teaches that those who have faith shall live. Faith and law are at counter-purposes; justification comes from one or the other.
The curse reserved for the law observer has been assumed by Christ himself. Now the faith of Abraham may be extended to the nations. It is this faith that saves through the gift of the Spirit.
Paul worked tirelessly in promoting faith in Christ Jesus as the sole cause of salvation. To promote circumcision or any precept of the law was to detract from the saving work of Christ. And for Paul that was nothing short of blasphemy. Works in the Christian life proceed from faith; it is the justified person who works in charity. Works do not lead to faith or bring about justice. Actually, faith leads to work that is salvific.
The Gospel today reminds us that temptation still remains our lot. Our justification must be highly prized, which means that we must be on guard. The forces of evil still try to overtake us.

Intercessions
– That like Abraham, our Father in the faith, Christians may put themselves trustingly into God’s hands, we pray:
– That by the grace of God we may be good people who are a blessing to others, we pray:
– That our hearts may not be divided, but that we try to live sincerely the way of the gospel, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
our faith reassures us
that Jesus your Son,
already present in this community of faith,
will give himself to us in person
in these signs of bread and wine.
Strengthen our faith,
that we may sow and gather
on the side of your Son
and with him live in your love
now and for ever. Amen!

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, we thank you
for nourishing our hesitant faith
with the word of your Son
and with his bread of strength.
Engrave his message in our hearts
that it can never be erased
and keep us going without any need
of proofs and signs,
in the certainty that you love us
and that, even in trials and challenges,
you will lead us home to you
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Blessing
“Lord, make our faith grow!” That should be our cry from the heart. We ask the Lord for a deep faith that accepts him on his word and that lets his message and his person guide our lives. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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