Our Faith is to Take Action

08-07-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The principal purpose of the Book of Wisdom is to collect and maintain much of the long memory of Israel. The reading this weekend is about the first Passover. This reading requires our imagination to be engaged. In our mind we are to see and hear people who are not yet free and who are sitting in darkness and the shadow of death. These enslaved people discovered hope and courage in their memory of the promise of God to their ancestors. These suffering people hoped and believed, but they did not presume to dream that God’s promise would finally be realized in them. In the end, they did pass over from no life to life as God’s own.

Our second reading compliments and continues the themes of the first reading. The passage from the Book of Hebrews describes the faith of the enslaved children of Israel on the eve of their deliverance: This quote “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” boldly tells us so. We next find a special list of well-remembered people who fit this definition. We realize that the faith journey of Abraham and Sarah was also a physical journey from one geographical place to another. They had confidence, though at times they were discouraged. This also is true for Isaac and Jacob. They had to wait on God’s promise. They did so, however not simply by waiting quietly, but also by doing during this time.

The audience of our Gospel passage was a people who were waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus. Some were waiting patiently, doing nothing. However, we are also reminded that what is entrusted to us is not ours. We are told the earth is the Lord’s and that we are here only for a while. When the Lord returns, we should be awake and ready.

When Peter asks if this is true for everyone or just for the disciples, the answer Jesus gives is a much bigger picture than what Peter expected. Jesus tells the story of the master who goes away for a long time. This master entrusts the estate to the servants, expecting them to carry out their responsibilities until he returns. Jesus continues by saying that those who carry on will receive the reward of their labors. This is what the servants believe, for they trust the master.

Thus we understand that it was the same way for Abraham and Sarah, for Isaac and Jacob, for the children of the Passover, for the apostles, and now actually for all of us. We are in a long line of believers. We are party to an ancient covenant with our God. God has always kept promises and honored covenants. God has given much to us, and much is expected in return. When we wait for our Master’s return, our faith is to take action. What we must then do is pass on that faith to other people and they must do likewise until God’s reign is finally realized in the entire world.