Scripture: Lectionary 472: Romans 4: 13,16-18. Psalm 105:6-7,8-9,42-43. Luke 12:8-12
Our liturgical readings offer us several important themes to ponder and meditate: the faith of Abraham, the covenant of God with us, and the power of the Holy Spirit in our witnessing to the Lord in difficult circumstances.
Paul helps us to continue to deepen our faith. This verse is especially important in our reflection: “All depends on faith; everything is a grace.” We are led to deepen our baptismal faith by realizing how active God’s grace is in our lives and how we are to accept the gift of faith as God’s grace seen in God’s loving-kindness toward us.
The next text to ponder comes from the Psalm and its response. We learn of the covenant God has made with Israel and how it is our covenant too through Jesus.Again the grace of the covenant is summed up in the all embracing word in Hebrew HESED which means love or loving-kindness. It is equivalent to Jesus’ gift of love at the last supper which is AGAPE. Our response to such a gift stems once again for our faith which enables us to receive God’s grace with thankfulness. We model our faith on Abraham and on Mary who is compared with Abraham by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater. The Psalm brings out in detail the loving-kindness of God toward us and assures us that God is Emmanuel (God with us). Matthew uses the Hebrew name Emmanuel in speaking about Jesus; he is the only one to do that in the whole of the New Testament.
Our third point for meditation is what Jesus is saying about the gift of God the Holy Spirit. Twice in our short pericope Jesus speaks of the Spirit. He warns those who tempt God by blaspheming against the Spirit and thus committing a most serious sin. On the other hand, Jesus assures us that the Holy Spirit will enable us to speak whenever we are persecuted or pushed beyond our own strength with the trials of life. We are to treasure the Holy Spirit who dwells within our hearts and prompts us to thank and praise God for the grace of our faith and for God’s hesed or covenantal love in our community, our Church. The Holy Spirit is the Person who empowers us to witness to Jesus even to the point of martyrdom and is the Person who helps us to pray whenever we cannot pray through our own efforts.
The Trnity is subtilely referred to in our reading from Luke. Our faith is thus belief in the One God who is one yet Three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the greatest mystery of our faith which requires the grace of faith to believe. Amen.