We live in an age which prizes knowledge; people go to school in order to be competent.  A hundred years ago, the sisters who taught in schools often had little formal education, yet people respected their positions.  One thousand two hundred years ago, few priests could read and write.  In fact, one church council said that candidates for the priesthood probably should know the Our Father.  One of the wisest people I knew, my great aunt, only attended school through the third grade.  Maybe some of you are were the first generation in your family to graduate high school or college.  Knowledge is something to be strived for; however today’s reading from the Book of Genesis paints a different picture.

In the 1800’s a Danish philosopher named Soren Kierkegaard thought long and hard about Abraham.  Kierkegaard lived in an age like our own and he saw that something was wrong.  People wanted knowledge yet Kierkegaard recognized Abraham had little knowledge.  Abraham was not formally educated; instead, he is a man of faith.  It took faith for Abraham to open his tent up to three strangers but Abraham provided for their needs.  It took faith for Abraham to believe these strangers that promised a child when both he and Sarah were both advanced in years.  For Kierkegaard, faith is greater than knowledge because faith is a response to an invitation. 

Our faith is not a catechism that is memorized; faith is something lived out in our daily lives.  It takes faith in God to deal with the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or the loss of one’s health.  Faith allowed people like Archbishop Denis Hurley in South Africa to oppose discrimination; faith transformed the life of St. Anthony who sold his belongings and went out into the desert to be closer to Christ.

Each of us has faith and that is why we are here.  At times, it may be weak and need to be strengthened.  Our prayer may be like that the person who told Jesus, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”  We may not be great saints but each of us are called to follow Jesus.  The greatest way we follow Jesus is by listening to his words and by responding to his invitation.  At this liturgy, we are nourished with the word of God and the sacrament of the Eucharist.  May the faith we received at our baptism be effective and transform our broken world.
 


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