19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 18:6-9; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12;32-48

Last month we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of one of the greatest achievements of the last century:  the Apollo 11 moon landing.  When Neil Armstrong stepped down from the lunar landing module he famously said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  I was only six years old at the time, but I remember following the mission with great excitement.  My brothers and I even had Apollo 11 sweatshirts!

In 1961, President Kennedy announced to the world that the USA intended to put a man on the moon within a decade.  There was one small problem:  the head of NASA, our space agency, hadn’t been consulted and his staff weren’t sure it could be done.  It’s estimated that over 10,000 questions and problems needed to be resolved.

Thanks to the imagination, intelligence, hard work and dedication of literally hundreds of thousands of people, President Kennedy’s vision was fulfilled.  On July 16, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. 

Today the author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”  Planning to put a man on the moon before our nation had even put a man in orbit around the earth was an act of faith—faith in science, human ingenuity, and the investment of billions of dollars.

We are called to a much more timeless and daring act of faith:  faith in God and his word.  It was that faith that inspired Abraham to leave his homeland for a land that God had promised but that Abraham did not know and could not see.  It was that same faith that allowed him to entertain the crazy idea that he and Sara could have a child.  When their son was born, they named him Isaac after the Hebrew word for laughter.  Generations later, Abraham’s descendants would leave Egypt for the Promised Land—a 40-year journey of faith and courage and many failures.

Jesus tells us today not to be afraid to make God our treasure and to be vigilant and responsible stewards of all that God has given us:  our lives, our vocations, our spiritual gifts and ministries, our material possessions…everything.  Jesus uses the word steward intentionally.  Stewards do not own what they have received.  They are entrusted with things for a time and a purpose. 

Everything good that we have is given to us by God to use while we are alive for his glory and the advancement of his kingdom.  That is the greatest act of faith in history:  a significant step for human beings who are capable of so much good and so much sin, and an even greater leap for God.  We are grateful for God’s faith in us and we pray for a deeper and more active faith in God. +