Jan 31 - Homily: Faith is Certain


Jan 31 - Homily: Faith is Certain

Jan 31, 2015
Let us not entertain any doubts or confuse Faith with Hope, but let us imitate the Faith of the Ancients, like Abraham, and God will not be ashamed to be called our God and will prepare for us a city, a heavenly homeland.
Ave Maria!

Mass: St. John Bosco - Mem - Form: OF

Readings: Saturday 3rd Week of Ordinary Time
1st: heb 11:1-2, 8-19
Resp: luk 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
Gsp: mar 4:35-41

Praised be Jesus and Mary.
The readings today talk to us about the virtue of faith, the first of the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. In today’s Gospel (Mark 4:35-41), Our Lord asks His apostles “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” See, they didn’t know, didn’t have faith yet, that Jesus was the Son of God, equal to the Father, and capable of commanding the wind and the sea and being in control of all things. The first reading, in the letter to the Hebrews, comes from chapter 11. And in that chapter it is one long praise of the faith of the men of the old testament, the ancients. Now one very important sentence that we find in the catechism of the Catholic church, so very important for today’s worlds and Christians living today is that very short phrase that says “Faith Is Certain”. A three-word sentence found in the catechism. “Faith is certain”, alright? We are not guessing. And we are not “hoping” that the truths of the faith are true. Ok? We know, by faith, with certainty, that everything that God has revealed to us, and is proposed for our belief by the Church, IS TRUE. “Faith is certain.” Now this is a theological virtue, supernatural, infused by God in the soul, and admits of varying degrees. Faith can be stronger or it can be weaker. Ok? At a minimum, it believes all of those things that God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief - that’s the bare minimum. Now there can be stronger faith, you know, more firm and less firm. But we always need to give that assent, our “Yes, I believe.” And given that faith is a theological virtue, it has no upper limit. That is, you cannot believe too firmly in these things. Ok? You have to have a dogmatic faith. Never wavering - never wavering. That is the type of faith that we need to have, that we should have. And if we don’t have, that we need to strive for. Our Lord, He is in control of everything. Ok? God’s governance, His providence, is a truth of faith. This too is in the catechism. That He governs everything, from the great events of history down to the small details, including those in our own lives. So when the waves and the wind and the sea of life is in turmoil, and we experience fear within us, that we are disquieted inside, we need to have faith. “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith? … Who then is this, Whom even the wind and the sea obey?” With a word, Our Lord says to the wind and the sea “Quiet! Be still!” He can do the same thing in our own lives. With the turmoil that we’re experiencing. With the anxiety within. At a word, Our Lord can say “Quiet - Be still”, and all will be calm. But we need to have faith in His power. And if, notwithstanding our faith, things are not quiet and things are not calm, don’t worry. That means He wants it that way, and you just need to bear it with patience.[CONTINUED…]


[CONTINUED] And we see, again, in the first reading, in the letter to the Hebrews, a wonderful example of faith. First there is the definition, the explanation of what faith is. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for.” What is hoped for? What is hoped for is eternal life. The promises that God has given us. And those who have supernatural faith, that is the realization of what is hoped for. That is, it makes it real. Not in some psychological sense, like, we imagine it, and so it is so. No. It’s not that. It makes it real. That is, present to the believer. Those who have faith already participate, have a prelude to eternal life. God dwelling in the soul. He is there. He is present. He is life. Eternal life. And so those who have supernatural faith, the infused virtue, it makes real what is hoped for. Our life in heaven. And it is the evidence of things not seen, that we don’t see with our eyes. And because of it, the ancients were well attested. It is because of their faith the ancients were well attested by God. That is, God was pleased with them. With the works that they did in faith. And then the rest of the chapter goes on, giving those examples of the ancients. Today’s reading just mentions that of Abraham. That he was obedient, ok? Abraham obeyed. When he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, he went out, not knowing where he was to go. God said go out. He went. He obeyed in faith. God promised him descendants, notwithstanding he was as good as dead. He was an old man, not capable by nature of having children. But God promised him descendants. And so he believed, in faith. Then, when he was given a son in Isaac, alright, he was then told to slay him, to offer him up as a sacrifice. And did he say “well wait, that doesn’t make sense. My descendants are supposed to come through Isaac. Therefore I can’t sacrifice him.” ? No. He reasoned, by faith. You see, that’s reason enlightened by faith. He said “well, if God’s commanding me to slay this son, from whom I’m supposed to receive descendants, then that must mean God is going to raise him from the dead.” That is supernatural faith. And that’s what the letter tells us, “by faith Abraham, when put to the test…” Notice, he was put to the test. And God will put our faith to the test as well. “… he offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said ‘through Isaac descendants shall bear your name’. He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead. And he received Isaac back as a symbol…” As a symbol of what? As a symbol of Christ, risen from the dead. Isaac, a figure of Christ, climbing the mountain, carrying the wood on his back, and he himself was to be the sacrifice. And he’s given back to Abraham as a symbol of Christ risen from the dead. “All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised, but saw it and greeted it from afar, because the savior had not yet come, and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.” And so those who have Christian faith in this world, they too acknowledge themselves to be strangers and aliens on this earth. Right? The pilgrim church on earth. That this is not our home. And so the Christian should not be surprised, but rather he should feel a little out of place in this world. Because this is not what he was made for, it’s not his homeland. But heaven awaits. Ok? They desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. They look forward to the city with foundations whose architect and maker is God. And for these, God is not ashamed to be called their God. For He has prepared a city for them.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


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