19Oct 19 October, 2019. Saturday of Week 28

1st Reading: Romans 4:13, 16-18

Hoping against hope, Abraham became the father of many nations

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, so 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.”

Responsorial: Psalm 104:6-9, 42-43

R./: The Lord remembers his covenant for ever

O children of Abraham, his servant,
O sons of the Jacob he chose.
He, the Lord, is our God:
his judgments prevail in all the earth. (R./)

He remembers his covenant for ever,
his promise for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac. (R./)

For he remembered his holy word,
which he gave to Abraham his servant.
So he brought out his people with joy,
his chosen ones with shouts of rejoicing. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 12:8-12

Do not worry about defending yourselves. The Holy Spirit will teach you what to say

Jesus said to his disciples: “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 ancestor in the faith

It must have seemed odd, even to Sarah his wife, that Abraham contintued to hope. Who could expect this elderly couple might give birth to a great nation? A person of lesser faith in God would call this hope ridiculous. When a situation seems humanly hopeless, we can take hope from the story of Abraham and Sarah.

Paul invites us to look to Abraham and Sarah, so that the Lord may turn our barren existence into a fruitful future. Abraham himself never witnessed how marvellous the promised land would be. His only son Isaac was the channel of hope towards the future. His faith reached beyond his own death to a people yet to come. For this reason Jesus appeals to the example of Abraham for belief in the resurrection.

Believers in Jesus must not say a word against the Holy Spirit, who is God’s inspiring presence with us. We have a promise from Jesus that at any moment of crisis, the Spirit will teach us what needs to be said.

Bearing witness

Disciples need to courageously witness to Jesus, speak about him and share his message with others. He promises that in doing this we won’t be left without the help they need. When faced with difficulties, the Holy Spirit will teach us what to say.

Sharing faith in Ireland today is hard because of the social climate is so hostile to religion, and to the Catholic church in particular. With so much negative media comment against our faith, we can be cowed into silence and invisibility. But we need to take heart and share our convictions with others in whatever way we can. For this we have the promise that the Holy Spirit will be with us. As Paul says, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We need to keep on praying for the courage to be true to the Lord who gave himself for us, giving us life through his death on a cross.


Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions, martyrs

Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649) was a French Jesuit missionary who went to New France (Canada) in 1625 and worked primarily with the Huron for the rest of his life, having learned their language and culture. In an Iroquois raid the missionaries were captured, ritually tortured and martyred on March 16, 1649. Isaac Jogues (1607-1646) was a Jesuit priest, missionary and martyr who worked in 17th century North America. He was martyred by the Mohawk in present-day New York state.

Saint Paul of the Cross, priest

Paolo Francesco Danei (1694-1775), from Ovada, Piedmont, northern Italy, the second of sixteen children, only six of whom survived infancy, was from an early age aware of the reality of death and suffering. After an early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, by age fifteen he left school and for a time taught catechism in churches near his home. He had a conversion to a life of prayer at the age of 19 and his prayer focussed on the Passion of Christ. At age 26 he felt drawn to form a community of evangelical life, promoting the love of God as revealed in the Passion of Jesus. This later came to be known as the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, or the Passionists, and Paul was their first superior general. He was one of the most popular preachers of his day, conducting parish missions in many parts of Italy. Many of his letters, most of them of spiritual direction, have been preserved. He died in Rome at the Retreat of Saints John and Paul (SS. Giovanni e Paolo) and was canonised in 1867.

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