11 Aug 2019
The Lord Our God
The Lord has chosen us to be his people. Though a little flock, our history goes back into the dim and distant past. The God we worship is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We also look forward in hope to a glorious future in the Kingdom of our Father.
– The Sunday Missal
That night had been foretold to our ancestors, so that,
once they saw what kind of oaths they had put their trust in,
they would joyfully take courage.
This was the expectation of your people,
the saving of the virtuous and the ruin of their enemies;
for by the same act with which you took vengeance on our foes
you made us glorious by calling us to you.
The devout children of worthy men offered sacrifice in secret
and this divine pact they struck with one accord:
that the saints would share the same blessings and dangers alike;
and forthwith they had begun to chant the hymns of the fathers.
Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he arrived, as a foreigner, in the Promised Land, and lived there as if in a strange country, with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. They lived there in tents while he looked forward to a city founded, designed and built by God.
It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise would be faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who was already as good as dead himself, more descendants than could be counted, as many as the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore.
All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them.
It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though the promises had been made to him and he had been told: It is through Isaac that your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.
‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’
See that you are dressed for action
From the time I was a child, I have always wanted to be successful in life and in my career. I started out in auditing, and finally ended up in retail banking. I enjoyed my work and looked forward to it. Ultimately, I loved building businesses for the bank.
Needless to say, I spent many, many hours on my work.
Towards the latter part of my corporate career however, things began to happen in my life that showed me that the work I was doing was no longer ‘my’ work. All of a sudden, what I was doing no longer seemed important.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about being ready. He asks us to get rid of everything which is no longer important, and begin waiting for our REAL purpose. He tells us to get ourselves ready. To me, our Lord Jesus is telling us to prepare for 2 events.
Firstly, to be ready to move on to our final destination; to return to heaven to be with our Father. Most of us never know when this physical death will arrive and the danger is that we will be caught unprepared to meet with our God. Secondly, I believe He is also referencing Parousia, or the Second Coming of our Lord.
I catch myself living my life as though I will live forever. I fritter away my time, perhaps unconsciously believing that by the day’s end, I will continue to be alive. Like the foolish rich man in the bible, I believe I will have time to enjoy and to prepare for heaven another day.
Brothers and sisters, may we not be caught in this dangerous way of thinking; may we instead begin to prepare for the day where we meet our God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Father, we pray that every moment we live is for You. Help us to prepare during our limited time on earth to ultimately meet with, and live with You.
Thanksgiving: We thank You Father, for sending us this important reminder. Thank You for the gift of life and thank You for teaching us how to live this life.