This week we are reminded that faith is not merely a set of beliefs. Rather faith is a way of knowing. It is a way of being. When we say of certain individuals that they surely live their faith, we can appreciate how faith is a form of action. God depends on our daily actions of faith. Human faith is the necessary ingredient in the realization of God’s will.
In Wisdom 18:6-9 we see how the “divine institution” of the Passover emerged out of the promises of God and the faith of the Israelites. The Israelites had faith that God would deliver them from slavery in Egypt. They prepared for that time by waiting in patient readiness, continuing to make sacrifices and remembering God’s covenant even as the circumstances were difficult. In time the Passover arrived, saving them and generations to come. Jesus was at a Passover meal with his faithful apostles when he made the new covenant of salvation, creating the “divine institution” of the Eucharist.
Hebrews 11: 1-2; 8-19 provides an expansive definition of faith as “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” When we are demonstrating our faith, we are pointing to the reality of the Kingdom of God. Faith is embodied. It is made out of obedience and trust, as exemplified in the actions of Abraham and his family. Abraham and his wife Sarah sojourned their whole lives in faith, obeying God’s commands and trusting in God’s promise of a homeland and descendants “as numerous as the stars.” Abraham and Sarah, their son Isaac, and grandson Jacob all lived and died in faith, seeing only from afar the promised blessings to come.
In this week’s Gospel, Luke 12: 32-48, Jesus’s words remind us that almsgiving is an act of faith. When we give, we trust that God will make better use of our material resources than we can, even as we trust that we will partake in His generosity. The vigilance of the Israelites and the constancy of Abraham echo in Jesus’s parable of the worthy steward. Worthy stewards remain in a state of readiness, vigilant, obedient and prudent with what the master entrusts to their care. Disciples must be prepared for the coming of the Son of Man at any hour. Jesus also lets his disciples know that much will be asked of those who know the master’s will and are entrusted to carry it out. In other words, we must live our faith at all times.
This Sabbath as we take the Eucharist, let us look into the faces of our brothers and sisters enacting their faith. In their presence we will grasp “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”