Faith In The Ever-Faithful God
Faith consists in encountering a living God and taking him at his word, believing in a promise. This is what Abraham did, and God fulfilled the promise. This is, in a way, what two young people do when they embark on a marriage. They trust that they can make it, that they can deepen their relationship, that they will grow in love and faithfulness. This is the adventure of the religious: they believe in a promise – that’s why they make a vow – a promise to a Christ who promises. A promise belongs to the order of love: a trust, a love, and a faithfulness that keep growing.
To those that are faithful to him, Christ promises to let his Spirit speak and work in them in times of trial.
1 Reading: Romans 4:13, 16-18
Brothers and sisters: It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, as it is written, I have made you father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist. He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 105:6-7, 8-9, 42-43
R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail. R.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac. R.
For he remembered his holy word
to his servant Abraham.
And he led forth his people with joy;
with shouts of joy, his chosen ones. R.
Alleluia: John 15:26b, 27a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 12:8-12
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”
What is the sin against the Holy Spirit? It can only be determined by context, and the context in Luke is not very helpful. The meaning can be derived from the other Gospels where it also appears. To sin against the Holy Spirit would be to attribute the work of God to evil or to call light darkness. This would be the total rejection of God’s saving plan. Jesus assures us that when we are called for an accounting of our faith in a public forum, we need not worry about what our defense would be. The assistance of the Holy Spirit is assured.
Again Paul summarizes his position on the faith of Abraham. That faith was a gift, not something earned. The descendants of Abraham, then, are those who believe as he did. He was told that he would be the father of many nations, even in his advanced years. He believed, hoping against hope. It is important for us to return to this fundamental teaching repeatedly in life. We will be saved because we have been gifted.
Therefore, to acknowledge Christ before others wins his acknowledgment before the heavenly court. On the human scene, a failure to profess him can be forgiven while blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot. The content of the faith profession will be provided by God himself. Through it all, his word is with us: “Do not worry.”
Faith is not only a belief in certain tenets or truths, but even more, trust in a person. We believe in God. We believe in Christ. We believe in the Holy Spirit. We trust God, we entrust ourselves to the God whom we ask to bless us, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!