St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

The Just Will Live By Faith -Homily October 6, 2013


All the readings speak about faith. Also the parable of Jesus can be understood in this sense. Jesus says to each one of us: Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink," that is to say, we serve Jesus on earth while he is already in heaven, at the banquet of the children of God. But he adds immediately: later you may eat and drink," that is to say, after serving the Lord in faith on earth, we can certainly hope to share his banquet in heaven. Also, we have to think that our faith is a banquet for him, a pleasing offering to our Lord. For by faith we give the Lord nothing but ourselves. This is what delights our Lord: not any gift, but our persons, our faith, our love.




Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith "man freely commits his entire self to God." For this reason, the believer seeks to know and do God's will. "The righteous shall live by faith." Living faith "work(s) through charity" (1814).


This means that there is a living faith, and a dead faith: The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. But "faith apart from works is dead" when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body" (1815).


The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: "All must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks." Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." (1816).




Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful" (1817).


The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Moved by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity" (1818).


Christian hope takes up and fulfills the hope of the chosen people which has its origin and model in the hope of Abraham (1819).


Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus' preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the "hope that does not disappoint." Hope is the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul . . . that enters . . . where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf." [] Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire" (1820).


We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere "to the end" and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for "all men to be saved." She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:


"Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Realize that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end." (St. Therese of Jesus) (1821).


Hope is a beautiful thing, because it makes us certain that one day the desire of our soul will be fulfilled, our desire of life and love without limits and without end. It is a "hope that does not disappoint." Our reward from God will be eternal life and love; and God himself will be our reward, because God is love (1 John 4:8) and he is the life (John 14:6). Fr. Andrew