**To listen to this homily, click on the title**
First Reading: Wisdom 18:6-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22
Second Reading: Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 or 11:1-2, 8-12
Gospel: Luke 12:32-48 or 12:35-40
Good morning. All the wonderful parishioners of St. Thomas would like to welcome all of you who are guests, who are joining us here from other churches, other parishes, other cities. We’d like to welcome you. We’re glad you’re here with us this morning to celebrate with us the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ. To celebrate the resurrection of the Lord.
I don’t know where this came from but I read something earlier. It sounds a little bit, if you’ve read Screwtape Letters – C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters – it sounds a little bit like one of the scenes from Screwtape Letters but it’s not. It has a different ending. Let me tell it to you. It’s two of the little worker bee demon who are having a meeting. These two demons were trying to come up with a good way to get more converts to their side. And one of them said “Why don’t we convince those Christians that God just doesn’t exist”. Well the other demon said, “No that really won’t work. All they’ve got to do is look at a sunrise. All they’ve got to do is look at a mountain. All they’ve got to do is look at something of beauty in this world and know that there must be a source of that goodness”. So they thought for a while and then the other little worker demon says, “Why don’t we try to convince them that the devil doesn’t exist”. The other said, “No that won’t work either. All they have to do is look at the evil in the world and know there must be a source of that evil”. So finally they talked for a while and they bounced a few ideas around and they came up with their solution. They decided that what would be the best thing would be to convince the Christians that we have plenty of time.
That is the message for today my dear friends. When you hear the Lord calling, it’s time to respond – now. Jesus in the Gospel was talking to the apostles. And he was talking to them about having an understanding, having knowledge of what the master wanted and the repercussions that would occur if that servant, if that person, did not do what the master wanted. If they thought, “Well, the master’s a little delayed in coming, we can just have a party” – you see, it is in faith that you and I hear those words. It is in faith that we hear those words encouraging us that when we hear the Lord, we need to respond now. Because my dear friends, we don’t know how much time we have. Our time is now. That is a statement of our faith - when we respond to his message. St. Paul in the second reading today gives us three incredible examples of faith and they’re all about Abraham. Let’s think about those examples for just a minute.
The first one occurred when Abraham was in his 70’s. It’s a time when most people are retired. But God came to Abraham and said, “I want you to get Sarah and the extended family and we’re gonna move you”. “Where Lord”? “Not for you to know Abraham. I just want you to move. I’m gonna take you where I want to take you”. Now my dear friends, Abraham did not say, “You know Lord, I’m kinda happy right now with my life. I’ve got my tent just the way I like it, got my flock out there and my herd and all this stuff. Everything seems to be just fine Lord. Don’t wanna move. Don’t know what kind of neighborhood you’re taking me too”. He didn’t say that. Abraham, Sarah, the extended family picked up and they went to a place unknown. That was an act of faith. Abraham did not know where that journey was taking him. My dear friends, what is God calling you to in your journey in life? Where is the Lord asking you to go? Is He challenging you with something new? Is He inviting you to follow Him in an unknown destination? I can take this in a lot of different ways. There are two young men sitting on our altar right now. Martin on one side and Miguel on the other side. They’re two of our four seminarians. Zach and Tim and these two guys and they have responded. God has invited them to a journey. They don’t know ultimately where it’s taking them but they have responded and they have said yes and they have said, “Yes Lord, take me wherever it is that you are leading me”. An act of faith. Let’s keep praying for them. They’re all getting ready to go back to school in different places. Please continue your prayer for them. But in the same time, continue to pray for your own self, asking the Lord where it is that He wants to take you - be willing to say yes to that invitation – now. Not later.
Now, there’s another story that St. Paul reminds us of about Abraham – it took place a few years later. Abraham was almost 100. God came to Abraham and said, “You know Abraham, this same time next year I’m going to come by and visit you again and you’re going to have a son”. Now Abraham’s wife Sarah, who was a spring chicken in her 90’s, she was listening in secret and she did what maybe you and probably I would do and that’s laugh. And yet, both Abraham and Sarah in an act of incredible faith said, “Lord, we don’t know how this is gonna happen” but then they cooperated in their humanness to God’s will and guess what? A year later God came back by and there was a son. It seemed impossible to the human mind that that could happen. My question to you today is what in your life seems to be impossible? What is happening in your life that you look and you say there’s nothing that can happen, that can change this, that can make it right? There’s nothing that can heal my marriage. There’s nothing that can find me a new job. There’s nothing that can get us out of this trouble that we’re in. What is it in your own life that seems humanly impossible? When you ponder that, I want you to think about Abraham and Sarah. And their incredible act of faith. They said, “Lord, don’t know how you’re gonna do this, but ok”. God in your life wants to help you get through the impossible. Whatever it is. He wants to be there with you. What He asks of us is that we say yes now, and work with Him in our humanness to allow Him to work in His divinity. Key to it however, is being willing to say yes – now.
The third story I find very, very tough. As a parent, I find the third story very, very difficult to even ponder. You see after that child was born, God promised that through that child and that through Abraham his descendents would be as numerous as the starts in Heaven and yet God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham, unbelievably, was willing to do what God asked. We know the end of the story, we know that ultimately God did not complete that request. Isaac was spared. The important point of that story is that Abraham was willing to do what God asked. Abraham in faith was willing to sacrifice his son. Now I think our question today is what is God asking me in my life, what is He asking me to sacrifice. Certainly he’s not going to ask us the same thing he asked of Abraham, but what is He asking of us? Is He asking us to give up our former life? Our former way of life? We know as parents we sacrifice everyday for our children. But what is He asking us to do? What is asking us to sacrifice? And are we willing in faith to say, “Ok Lord. This will be tough. But you asked and I’m gonna say yes, I’m going to sacrifice whatever it is that you’re asking me to do. And I’m gonna do it now”.
My dear friends, we don’t know how long we have. We don’t know in our own individual lives how much more time we’ve got. We don’t know. What we know is that the Lord is saying to us, “Don’t wait. Don’t wait for the master to return and find us doing the wrong thing”. Is He calling us someplace new in our journey in life? Say Yes! Say Ok – now. Do we have something in our life that we find impossible? Allow the Lord to work in our lives. He wants to work us through it. Is He asking us to sacrifice something? To give up something? To change – to do something else? Be willing to say Yes. And do it now. Recognize, know, believe in our hearts how much God loves us. He will only ask us to do something that is for our own good. He asks us to do it – now.