Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 11

Exodus 12 The First PassoverCentral Idea: God will do what he has promised. Doctrine: The theological virtue of faith. Practical Application: Recognizing God in the ordinary.

To view the Lectionary 117 readings, click here.

Central Idea: God will do what he has promised.

Reading 1 Wis 18:6-9

  • The Passover was the night on which God both punished the oppressors of the Chosen People and freed and glorified his own “holy children.”
  • We too, the Chosen People of God in Christ, await our salvation, but we do not look forward to the destruction of our foes, except in the sense that we pray for the destruction of whatever makes them foes of God, just as we pray for the same thing for ourselves.
  • Just as “the holy children of the good” offered the Paschal Lamb in secret, putting into effect what God had instituted, we the People of God offer our own sacrifices with the priest who offers again Christ’s Paschal Mystery, instituted by God in the Holy Eucharist.
  • In secret we, the holy children of God in Christ, are constantly offering the sacrifice of our lives by doing God’s will rather than obeying the desires of our flesh. Usually this sacrifice involves very ordinary things, like choosing what we look at, think about, say, and do.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22

  • Today, the nation on earth whose God is the LORD is not any territory of people. It is all the People of God: Those who by God’s grace and their own choice are united to the Blessed Trinity through Christ’s body, his Church. It is those visibly in the Catholic Church, all our separated brothers and sisters in baptism, and all those known to God alone who have upright hearts and who cooperate with his hidden graces.
  • Some of us visibly and others in secret are “holy children of the good” and are “offering sacrifice and putting into effect . . . the divine institution.”
  • All of us on earth “await” the salvation of our bodies and souls which has begun but which will only be completed after this earthly life.

HEB 11:1-2, 8-12

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.

  • Abraham is our father in faith because he believed that the promises God made to him would be fulfilled.
  • Abraham “thought that the one who made the promise was trustworthy” and he was right to, for God can neither deceive nor be deceived.
  • The fulfillment of God’s promises lies in the future. Faith makes these promises affect our today. God’s promises to us are greater than his promises to Abraham. God promised Abraham a land and a people descended from him. God promises us salvation in this life, transformation in his image in this life, and eternal life with him in heaven. We trust that God is already giving us, and will finally fully give us, what he has pledged.

LK 12:35-40

  • We will meet Christ. This will occur either at Christ’s second coming, if we are alive then, or at the moment of our death, which we cannot foresee.
  • We must be prepared for this meeting.
  • Christ is giving us good news here. He is saying this returning master is very happy, like one returning home from a wedding, so happy that he will do the unimaginable, which is to serve his servants. On our part, we don’t want to do anything to disturb our master’s happiness by being “asleep” or unprepared.
  • Christ is warning us that he will return, and we should welcome this warning, just as we would be glad to know that a thief is coming at a certain time in the night so we can be prepared.
  • To “gird your loins” means to tie up your long, loose fitting lower garments so you are prepared for physical work or even for battle. We are at work now building Christ’s kingdom and battling evil, especially in ourselves. If we are doing these things, we are ready to meet Christ at every moment. Just washing some dishes, because it is our present duty, is being ready.
  • Being ready certainly means to remain in a state of grace, meaning to be free of mortal sin, and to return to a state of grace immediately through the Sacrament of Reconciliation if we should fail.

Doctrine: The Theological Virtue of Faith

  • The theological virtue of faith is “The infused theological virtue whereby a person is enabled to ‘believe that what God has revealed is true—not because its intrinsic truth is seen with the rational light of reason—but because of the authority of God who reveals it, of God who can neither deceive nor be deceived’ (First Vatican Council, Denzinger 3008).”[1]
  • This faith is “theological” because it comes from God and it leads us to God.
  • It is a gift God infuses in us (or gives us) at baptism.
  • This gift is a “virtue” or stable disposition, so that we can always hold firm to the truths of Divine Revelation as long as we want to.
  • It “enables us” to believe but does not force us. On our part, we willing assent or agree with what God reveals.
  • What is it we believe? We believe “what God has revealed.” We believe in the person of Jesus Christ and all he did and taught. This revelation is preserved in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture and is entrusted in the Magisterium of the Church to be interpreted. A summary of revelation is found in the Creed we say at Mass. More full-blown statements are found in catechisms, like the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • Why do we believe it? “[N]ot because its intrinsic truth is seen with the rational light of reason—but because of the authority of God who reveals it.”
    • Some of the content of Divine Revelation can be seen with the light of reason but we may never see this ourselves because we are not smart enough or not able to commit the time necessary.
    • Some of it will only ever be partly understandable because it goes beyond the resources of reason, like how there can be three persons in one God.
  • To make the act of faith, we also need to have sufficient reasons to believe God is really revealing this.
  • We can readily assent to something God reveals once we are confident the revelation comes from him because he both all good and all knowing. Because God is good he will not deceive us. Because he is omniscient he cannot be wrong.

Practical Application: Recognizing God in the ordinary

  • In his homily Friends of God, St. Josemaria Escriva reminded his listeners that “we are travelers, journeying to our home in Heaven, our Father’s land.”
  • He warned us that the biggest obstacle along the way could be routine, “in imagining that God cannot be here, in the things of each instant, because they are so simple and ordinary.” How many of us are looking for extraordinary signs of God’s love or power in our lives or for extraordinary tasks God wants us to do.
  • St. Josemaria gives the example of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus when Jesus joins them the day of the Resurrection. St. Josemaria comments, “Lord, how great you are, in everything! But you move me even more when you come down to our level, to follow us and to seek us in the hustle and bustle of each day.” In reality, God just wants us to attend to the task or person right in front of us.
  • He ends with this thought, “Lord, grant us a childlike spirit, pure eyes and a clear head so that we may recognize you when you come without any outward sign of your glory.”[2]
  • The secret to living out the theological virtue of faith is to see that the here and now is the place and time in which God wants us to meet him and to serve him. It is not in the past, which is over. It is not the future, which we can only imagine and so is not real.
  • The person in the state of grace who washes the dishes well, because it is his job, and who offers this work to God for the sake of his neighbor, is living out the virtue of faith and is prepared to meet Christ.

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