Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11: 6)
Our second reading today speaks to us about faith, the first of the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. Faith is a supernatural gift of God that enables us to believe without doubting whatever God has revealed.
The book of the Hebrews also defines faith as the expectation of those spiritual realities, true but not seen but certainly will come. (Heb 11:1)The biblical Abraham is an example of a man with great faith. God told him to leave his home, relations and land for a foreign country. Abraham obeyed. He had no child even in his old age but was promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. He believed. Even when he had Isaac, his first and only son, God told him to sacrifice this only son to Him. Abraham obeyed and willed to do so. In his mind, he believed that the One who made the promise was trustworthy. For his belief in God, God blessed him and his descendants forever.
However, faith does not stand alone. It goes along with hope which is another theological virtue. It is hope that tells us that our beliefs are not empty and uneless beliefs but will be fulfilled when the time comes. It is hope therefore that spurs us up and motivates us to action. An athlete anxious to win a trophy hopes to do all within his or her power for the win. From hope comes action for perfection and in spiritual life this is how we earn eternal life, our last and final end. As St. James puts it, “Faith without good works is dead” (James 2: 17).
In order therefore that our faith life, hope and practice win us eternal life we have to listen to the words of Christ himself who said, “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like the servant who awaits his master’s return to open for him the moment he returns from a wedding waiting to open the door for him as he knocks. He said blessed will be that servant who was vigilant and on his duty.” (Lk 12:37) He will be nicely rewarded while the one who took advantage of his master’s absence to misbehave will be punished.
Our Lord therefore calls on us to combine faith, hope and practice in Him and the kingdom promised us will be ours, Amen.