17th Sunday in Ordinary Time: “Walking in Full Alert”

August 11, 2019

Genesis 15:1-6

Psalm 33:12-15, 18-22

Hebrews 11:1-2. 7-13

Luke 12:32-37

Jesus said to His disciples, “Don’t worry about the things the world worries about – what you need to eat, what you need to wear, where you are to live. All these things the Gentiles pursue but you, you  seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you.”   Then, He said, “DO NOT BE AFRAID! God the Father has chosen gladly to give you the Kingdom.”

 

The kingdom of God is infinitely more satisfying than the things we worry about.  The kingdom of God is way more fulfilling than the things that occupy our minds 24/7.  Jesus is saying that if we have our priorities right, if we seek first His kingdom and all His righteousness, then all the other things will be added to us.   Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.  What do we treasure?  God’s kingdom or the things of the world?   God has chosen gladly to give us the kingdom; therefore, He is the Source of all good things.  God is the Source from Whom all blessings flow. Blessings not curses.  No evil dwells in God; nothing comes from Him that is not good for us or that is not a blessing for us.  His eyes looks to and fro for someone to bless.

 

David is a man after God’s own heart, and there is a story that reveals God’s heart and that of David too. After King Saul died, David asked his servants, “Who of the house of Saul is left so that I can show kindness to him?”  A grandson of Saul, Mephibosheth, was living in a town called Lo-debar, which means nothing. No provision, no abundance, no satisfaction or fulfillment.  He was struggling to survive here where there is nothing to be offered for his life.   The king asks, “Who can I bless today?”   His eyes goes to and fro looking for someone to bless.  Mephibosheth was called and he went from a place of nothingness to the palace of the king, eating at the king’s table and having his fortunes and servants restored back to him.

 

This is our story! Don’t we find ourselves in a place that is dry and we get no satisfaction or no rest for our soul?    We live in a place of nothing – no hope, no peace – and then God finds us and transfers us from this kingdom to His kingdom of light and serves us at His table and restores to us blessings.  God ever blesses!  Our adversary, the devil according to St. Peter, is like a roaring lion that prowls about, seeking someone to devour or to destroy.   The enemy steals and kills and destroys.  God blesses, blesses and blesses.  Don’t mistake one for the other.   Do not blame God for our miseries because all that God gives us is good things.  Our sickness did not come from God.  Death did not come from God.  Life comes from God.   If we see things right, hopefully, our anxieties will be lessened, if not totally erased from our hearts and minds.

 

God blesses and He seeks whom to bless, and the devil seeks to whom to devour.  God is a Friend, a King, a Father, and a Shepherd.  Know Him as such and let our faith grow.  Faith is the assurance of things not yet seen.  Faith is not seen but it has a basis of something that it has been seen and proven before which is the knowledge of God.   We have to act on our faith as faith without works is dead.  If we have faith in God, we act on it.  If we believe, we act accordingly.

 

In the conclusion of our reading in Hebrews 11, it says, “All these men of faith died in faith without receiving the promises.”   They died believing.  Unfortunately, today, the opposite is true.  People remain alive but their faith dies.  They give up because they seem not to see God’s promises being fulfilled.  The Hebrew children were placed in a fiery furnace believing that God will deliver them, but they said that even if God doesn’t deliver them, they will still obey Him and they will act on their faith.  They were not after the reward or the deliverance; they were after serving God because they found joy in doing it.   Serving God in itself is the reward; it is the source of joy. 

 

Even if we don’t see results, don’t grow weary! Do not give up! These men of faith mentioned in Hebrews11 did not question God and they died without seeing results.  All they saw was trial, struggle, persecution and injustice.   They did not question God.

 

In Hebrew 10:32, “32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings.” What we suffer now is nothing compared to what they suffered before.  Persecution was torture and death for them.  Today, persecution is not getting noticed, recognized or being thanked. “33 Partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.”   They accepted their tribulations joyfully.  Peter and John healed a lame man in the temple and they were arrested unjustly.  They were doing the will of God and yet they were imprisoned.  In the Book of Acts, after they were released, they prayed and they rejoiced because they were considered worthy to suffer for the sake of the Kingdom.  These are true Christians!

 

Even if we don’t see results and we just see conflicts and struggles and tests, believe to the point of death. Do not give up and do not grow weary.  God is a rewarder but our attitude is that it is not about rewards, but all about obedience.  The joy and obedience is reward enough in the first place.  If there is more reward, praise the Lord!  If there is no more reward, praise the Lord! This is because we have joy, not in the reward, but in the service of God.   God is our inheritance.  If we have God, we have all the other things in our lives.  Where is our treasure?  If our treasure is God, there will our heart be also.