Scripture: Lectionary 472. Oct.19th . Romans 4:13,16-18. Psalm 105:6-7,8-9, 42-43. Luke 12:8-12
St. Paul is the first inspired writer of the New Testament to tell us that Abraham is the Father of all believers in God. Jews, Muslims, and Christians have always considered Abraham as their Father in the belief that they have in the one true, almighty, and ever merciful God. His name indicates that he had a special role in the beginning of salvation history, hence, he is called the Father of Many Nations (Peoples). Paul shows us that Abraham’s faith is so great that it hopes beyond all hope in the promises God made to him when calling him out of his own home and nation to be the Father of Isaac and thus the beginning of a holy people. “Hoping beyond hope, Abraham believed and so became the Father of many nations (Romans 4:18).”
This passage from chapter four of Romans is very consoling and will give us a key for understanding Paul’s lengthy epistle written to those believers in Rome who are both Gentiles and Jewish Christians. Paul always has his Jewish heritage in mind while writing to Gentiles about their faith and how they are to grow and develop within it through Christian community. From Romans we will learn much about Paul’s sense of righteousness (holiness and wholesomeness) and peace and unity through belief in the one true God that he has always believed in and was most zealous in defending his belief.
We learn in today’s short selection from chapter 4 that “all depends on faith; everything is a grace.” All three of the great monistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have scriptures about Abraham and how he is a model, a mentor, and an ancestor who lived fully by faith and trust in God. Abraham thus is a teacher of faith in God for the individual and for the community to which the individual belongs.
Paul states there are no favorites with God; all are children of God through Abraham and his offspring. Paul relies on Genesis for his primary ideas about how we are related to God especially looking at chapters 1-3, and 12-24 (the history of salvation through Abraham and God’s promises).
In our Psalm 105 we have Abraham mentioned three times; once with his son Isaac. The Response is helpful for our prayer this day: “The Lord remembers his covenant forever.” We will be rewarded if we read chapters 9-11 this day in order to see how Paul is totally dedicated to his own people and yearns for them to be like he is. We should all be thankful for the great gifts we have inherited from the example of Abraham, Moses, and the Prophets.
My personal meditation on this psalm led me to an appreciation of the ways God providentially led Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) to the promised land. This psalm is about salvation history which is essential to our spiritual life. As believers our faith is strengthened and enkindled. It is through remembering these sacred events that we can relate them to the times that were difficult but God was and is always there for us. We all need to take some time to think and pray about how God is present and meaningful in our lives. We need to keep searching for God and striving to live in God’s presence like Abraham did and like Paul did. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.