19 October, 2013. Saturday of the Twenty Eighth Week
Or memorial of St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists
Rom 4:13ff. Hoping against hope, Abraham became the father of many nations, believing in the life-giving power of God.
Lk 12:8ff. Do not worry how to defend yourselves. The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment all that should be said.
First Reading: Romans 4:13, 16-18
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”) – in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.”
Gospel: Luke 12:8-12
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before he angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”
Our Forefather in Faith
Abraham’s hoping against hope, must have seemed odd, even to Sarah his wife. Who would ever think that this elderly couple would not only be the source of a great nation? A person without Abraham’s faith would call this man’s hope simply “ridiculous.” When a situation turns out to be humanly hopeless, we should recall Abraham and Sarah. Such situations calling for radical decision come often enough in individual lives, and within history too.
Paul calls us to “look to Abraham… and to Sarah,” so that the Lord may have pity on all our ruins and turn our desert existence into a paradise like Eden. Abraham himself never witnessed how marvellous this promised fertility would be. He saw only his son Isaac. In a way, Abraham’s faith had to reach beyond death to the resurrection of the dead. For this reason Jesus appeals to the example of Abraham for belief in the resurrection.
Those with intimate union with Jesus realize how disastrous is a word spoken against the Holy Spirit, who is there to inspire us with courage and vision at any moment of crisis. “The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment all that should be said.”