Dear Visitors and Parishioners,
August 11, 2019
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.
Once someone told me that he was not pleased by the definitions of faith that the Church offered him. He searched and could not find a definition that would apply to him. He prided himself on being a rational person and none of the definitions fit his schemes of life. I told him that he was fighting a losing battle, that he needed to go to Saint Paul's letter to better understand faith.
Were we to look for a definition of faith, we would encounter all kinds of definitions. Hundreds of books have been written about it. Most of the time they miss the point. They try to give us a rational, or an emotional, or a purely pious definition of faith.
Saint Paul in today's second reading offers us an existential definition of faith through the person of Abraham, "By faith he obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as inheritance; he went out not knowing where he was to go." Faith, Saint Paul tells us, requires surrender of vision and logic-"he went out not knowing where he was to go."
"By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents..., for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God." By faith he believed that God has called to play a foundational role into the heavenly Jerusalem.
"By faith he received the power to generate, even though he was the normal age." His faith in God enabled him to father into an impossible situation, with a woman who was sterile.
What do we learn from this definition of faith? Abraham teaches us to trust in God, even when our eyes and our mind do not have a clear vision. To trust in God when we are challenged to walk into the dark.
Abraham teaches us that God has a plan for us and that we are all called to play a role in this plan. By faith we are challenged to see what others cannot see, and we are dared to embrace it, even beyond what is humanly logical.
By faith Abraham teaches us to hope beyond all hope, because God's power and love is limitless.
Faith, Abraham teaches us, is to trust beyond all our fears. Only in the surrender of our wills will we ever be able to understand faith like Abraham teaches.
-Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, 0.P.