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Sunday:       19 Sunday of Ordinary Time
Date:         August 7, 2016.
Year:         C
The readings: [Wis. 18:6-9; Heb. 11:1-2, 8-19; Lk. 12:32-48]
The message:  The virtues of faith and patience.
Prepared by:  Catholic Doors Ministry
Total words:  1260

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** The readings follow the sermon.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus said, "Be like those who are waiting for their master to return." [Lk. 12:36] In this command, we find the beautiful virtues of faith and patience.

In a far North Territory, there is a city where at one time, ten percent of working fathers were truck drivers. Those working parents spent a lot of their time on the road, sometimes weeks at a time. At home, the most common question that cried out of the mouth of the young children was, "When is dad coming home?" To reduce the pain of the little ones, the mothers would reassure them that their fathers would soon be home. They would tell the little ones to believe and have patience, to just wait and see!

In a similar way, we cry out for the day when we will share in the fullness of the knowledge of our Father in Heaven. We cry out for the day when, through Jesus as our "Mediator," [1 Tim. 2:5] we will come face to face with the glory of our Heavenly Father. In the meantime, we must persevere in our living faith, trusting in the future fulfillment of the promises handed down to us by the written Words of God that are found in the Holy Scriptures. Alongside all our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Holy Catholic Church, we must steadfastly support one another "while we wait for the blessed hope." [Tit. 2:13]

During today's First Reading, we heard of the faith and patience of God's people during their days of captivity in Egypt. In secret, His people offered sacrifices and lived according to the Divine Law. Their faith and perseverance, through both, blessings and dangers, were in the hope of sharing in the glory of the saints. [Wis. 18:9]

Finally, as God had promised through the former prophets, He delivered His children and destroyed their enemies. Through the fulfillment of this unsurpassable victory, God was glorified through His people.

During the Second Reading, we heard of the faith and patience of Abraham, his wife Sarah, Isaac and Jacob. [Heb. 11:8-9] Reviewing the faith of Abraham, he obeyed God and left his homeland for the promised land. There he lived in tents throughout his entire life, always looking towards to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. While he died in faith, not having inherited the Divine promises, he knew that he was a stranger and foreigner on earth. In his heart, he desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one. And today in Heaven, he is rejoicing in his inheritance of the promises of God.

Abraham shined in faith and patience. He believed that though barren, his wife would conceive, even when she was too old. [Heb. 11:11] He believed that although he was in his old age, descendants would be born of him, these numbering as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. [Heb. 11:12] When asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, he believed that God could raise someone from the dead. [Heb. 17-19] In all things, Abraham had faith in God, patiently waiting to see how the goodness of God would develop. Such faith and patience is the model that all Christians should strive to imitate.

Today's Reading from the Gospel of Luke tells us to be prepared in the sense of, "persevering in our living faith." We should not relapse into the old sinful nature. Why? Because no one knows when the Lord God shall call us to appear before Him. After having persevered in our living faith throughout our lives, should we suddenly relapse so we can be counted among those who are lost forever? Certainly not! We cannot afford not to have our lamps lit. We cannot afford to be sleeping when we should be alert. We cannot afford to lose our salvation when we have endured so much until now.

Jesus said, "It is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." In other words, the Kingdom of God has been created for us, for our eternal joy and peace in the continuous presence of God. The joy of the Lord and His angels is to see each and everyone of us finding our way home to the spiritual Kingdom.

Then, Jesus added, "Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them." In these beautiful words, Jesus tells us two things. First, those who persevere in their living faith, they are blessed. Secondly, faith and patience are regarded as spiritual virtues that are so great in the eyes of God that as a reward to those who possess these qualities, Jesus will sit down with them, serve them and eat with them. Where will this take place? In the Kingdom of God. Blessed are the slaves who will inherit the Kingdom of God!

Jesus concluded His teaching by saying, "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded." [Lk. 12:48] In other words, some will have to give a greater accountability before God than others.

Those who are entrusted with the care of souls, more will be demanded of them. These persons consist of the clergy members, the parents who have children, the teachers, the politicians, the judges and lawyers, the police, etc... Each of these, according to their occupations, shall be made accountable.

Beyond any doubt, a mother who has children will have a greater accountability to give to God than a childless woman. What kind of accountability will that be? Parents will be asked if they raised their children in the Catholic faith, if their children were baptized, confirmed, made their First Communion, if they were encouraged to go to Confession and receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. For all these things are spiritual obligations of Catholic parents.

As to the basics that the others will be made accountable for, they will be asked if they went to Church on every Sunday and the days of obligation, if they financially supported their Church with a generous heart, if they strived to spiritually grow in their faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, if they evangelized to others as the baptismal promises obligates them, if they received the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist on a regular basis, etc...

As can be understood from the aforementioned, there will be basic accountability regarding our personal sanctification and greater accountability regarding our obligation towards others. Those who enjoy the virtues of faith and patience, they have no fear. Why? Because they persevered in sound doctrines, trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide them in all what is good and holy. In obedience and submission, they welcomed the grace of God in the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this week, let us take a few moments to review our personal faith and patience. Let us ask ourselves if we enjoy the fullness of these virtues. If we fall short of enjoying their fullness, let us ask God to bless us with these precious gifts so our purification may proceed according to His Divine Plan. Let us ask this to God so His glory may be manifested through us.

The readings...

[The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.]
First Reading...

"The night of the deliverance from Egypt was made known beforehand to our ancestors, so that they might rejoice in sure knowledge of the oaths in which they trusted.

The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of their enemies were expected by your people. For by the same means by which you punished our enemies you called us to yourself and glorified us.

For in secret the holy children of good people offered sacrifices, and with one accord agreed to the divine law, so that the saints would share alike the same things, both blessings and dangers; and already they were singing the praises of the ancestors." [Wis. 18:6-9]

Second Reading...

"Brothers and sisters, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

For Abraham looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself, though barren, received power to conceive, even when she was too old, because she considered him faithful who had promised.

Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, 'as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.'

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his own son, of whom he had been told, 'It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.' Abraham considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead - and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back." [Heb. 11:1-2, 8-19]

Gospel Reading...

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have the sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Peter said, 'Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?' And the Lord said, 'Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful.

That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded." [Lk. 12:32-48]

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