Scripture: Lectionary 473. Romans 4:20-25. Luke 1:69-70.71-72.73-75. Luke
Our prayer is the Response. It happens to be the Benedictus or song/psalm
of Zehariah, the father of John the Baptist. It shows us how faith is to
be put into prayer and action with the salving promises of God always being
fulfilled for those who believe and take the time to ponder over the
history of salvation through our belief.
Paul continues to help us deepen our faith by his inspired words of wisdom
given to him as the grace of the Holy Spirit. He will explain what he is
talking about in the sixth chapter which can be used as more background for
our first reading, Romans 4:20-25. Paul demonstrates the gift of faith
through Abraham’s call and response; a gift and a grace of putting faith
into action. We hear all three monotheistic religions claiming Abraham as
the founder and father of faith. We learn later from Luke how Mary too is a
model of faith similar to Abraham but in a new context of ongoing salvation
To be saintly (justified) disciples of Jesus we need the gift of faith
followed up by a sign of commitment that we are believers. For Jesus and
his people it was the sign of circumcision made first with Abraham as the
commitment sign; with us, it is Baptism which gives us the gifts of faith,
hope, and love that are to be developed throughout our lives. We activate
these gifts by recalling them and responding in thanksgiving for these
graced gifts from God. Prayer is of the essence of the sacrament and its
words and sign. Through Baptism we are like Paul who has had a tremendous
conversion experience involving the presence of the Risen and Living Voice
of Christ in his life. He now shares that life with all of us through his
most developed epistle, our continuous reading during these weeks.
We believe that Jesus is the one who has reconciled us to God by his death
and resurrection. We know that Jesus is our Redeemer and that he wants us
to participate in the joys and gifts of his glorious resurrection proving
he has conquered death, sin, and Evil (the Devil). Jesus is the ultimate
gift showing us God fulfilling his promises made throughout the Scriptures
both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Paul’s personal experience of the Risen Lord accepted the gift of faith and
now preaches, teachers, and writes about this magnificent gift from God.
God now does great things for us through the mysteries of Jesus that we
experience through our union with him in prayer, suffering, and
thanksgiving. Christ becomes fully alive through our faith just as he did
for Paul. Our faith opens up all of the mysteries of Christ not as secrets
but as life-giving signs of God’s love through his Son. (See John 3:15-16).
We are to be conformed to Christ and to hear the living voice of Christ
when we read and pray and listen to the Epistles, the Gospels, and the
other writings found in Scripture. Paul message is very clear: “…our faith
will be credited to us if we believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from
the dead, Jesus who was handed over to death for our sins and raised for
our justification (our wholesome holiness and call to sanctity). Amen.