19th Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 7 August 2022 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: Wisdom 18: 6-9; Responsorial: Psalm 33; II: Hebrews 11: 1-2, 8-19; Gospel: Luke 12: 32-48

Steps of Faith [Image location & source unknown]

“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock!” So begins the Gospel reading this Sunday. Jesus powerfully affirms the message of all our readings that for the Christian we are called to be a people of faith that is seen in our lives, in our obedience to God.

God is always honest with us. Our Lord recognizes that there are times in life that are fearful. There are times in life when we encounter the need for courage IF we are to say yes to God.

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom reminds us how in the Exodus Moses, with the Hebrew people needed true faith and courage to take the steps of freedom as they left Egypt and journeyed to the promised Land. What steps would God be asking of us to fuller freedom from this world, from sin as He leads us to the promised Kingdom of God?

The refrain from our psalms confirms: ” Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” The promise of God’s blessing awaits us as we learn we are not about our possessions. We are about belonging to God.

The powerful roll call of faith in our reading from the Book of Hebrews brings our focus specifically upon Abraham who traveled many miles, physically, and even so many more spiritually to inherit the land and people of promise from God.

None of these examples, these pilgrimages to God were done in a few short, easy steps. They were difficult quests that involved many steps where the choices had to be made: Fear Not, Let God, and Follow the path that the Shepherd of Souls was leading upon.

And it is in the Gospel Jesus makes very clear this simple yet eternally powerful path with Him. Christ is sending his disciples out to proclaim the Gospel. He sends them out with extraordinary instructions. They are to themselves with money bags that never wear out and that can never be robbed or worn out. Yet from these bags, they are to share, abundantly with those they meet. They are to be as servants always ready to greet their master upon his return after a long absence. He states that their hearts will always be wherever their treasure is. And it is with these seemingly impossible criteria Jesus begins with the words: ” Do not be afraid…” And so it is our Savior calls to each of us. “Fear Not, Let Go, Follow”… with these five words God sums up what it is to be a disciple of Christ.

Fear Not: To follow Jesus is to grow in freedom from sin, the false promises, and the riches of the world. But this takes courage rooted in true faith. Countless would be the promises of false securities and assurances the prince of this world would send us throughout our day. Popularity, success, financial abundance, health, and freedom from aging are just a few examples of the many ways men, women, and children are trained to THINK certain products or practices will give them all they would want. Next time you watch TV or go online carefully consider how many products and how much news and “information” is shared that appeals to our fears. And we need to be honest this applies in politics and faith matters as well. And so Jesus calls us to Fear Not and to Let Go!

Let Go: What (or who) is holding us back from God? We are a people of many excuses. “I am… too old, too young, too ignorant, too educated, too busy, too bored…and the litany of doubt can go on and on. The thought of change, of growing, of letting go is very hard for many people. Even if someone has deep wounds and fears to let go of those and allow the Lord to heal is…scary. To launch out on a new path when you feel old or unworthy, unable is … scary. To take steps that many in your family and friends may think foolish is… scary. But it is as we Let Go of those excuses and false treasures that our hands and hearts are freed to know His nail-pierced hand holding ours. It is as we let go of our false securities God brings into our lives the eternal riches of His Kingdom. This pilgrimage, this quest is accomplished as we, in faith, choose to fear not, and let go so that we simply:

Follow: Where? To whom? To what eternal happiness is God preparing for you, for the little flock of your family, your parish? Many would believe the great and exciting ages of exploration and discovery are over. And in a sense, in this world, they are not as they once were. But with God, with the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, we have barely begun. The indescribable beauties of this world are nothing to the beauties and awesome majesty of the holy places, riches, and treasures of God. Earthly words will not be able to express the love and beauty we witness when we see the angels and other heavenly creatures. And especially words will fail to express the love we encounter when we see our Lord as we choose to Fear Not, Let Go, and Follow Him.

St Francis Basilica, Assisi [Image source unknown]