Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Firm in Faith

Readings for Tuesday, July 13 – Memorial of St. Henry:
Isaiah 7:1-9
Psalm 48:2-8
Matthew 11:20-24

***I didn't have this whole text prepared beforehand, so this is fleshed out from the notes I preached from. It's pretty true to what I said in the homily itself.***

I hope that you all caught the last line from our first reading today: “Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!”

Those of you who came here for Mass this weekend heard me speak about how we can easily get caught up in the details of the scriptures and lose sight of the point. The passage from the book of the Prophet Isaiah today gives us a good example of how that can happen. We get to all these names and can easily get lost in the details, but in all of those details we find hidden this little sentence, a gem of wisdom for us.

The prophet Isaiah used this in reference to military battle. We today, though, are not fighting a military battle but a spiritual one. As Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians, we are not battling against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. We don’t always talk about him, but the evil one, Satan, is real and he is at work in the world. He is constantly trying to get us to turn away from God and toward ourselves, leading us to sin in a whole variety of ways. The reality is that we are in a spiritual battle.

Thus we can see the value of this phrase for us today – Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm! It’s a call from the prophet to us to be steadfast in the faith. The way that we are strengthened in faith is by our prayer; by a daily, deep prayer life and relationship with the Lord, by our prayers at home or the chapel, on our way to and from work, and here in this church. It is strengthened especially by our gathering here to celebrate the sacrifice of Mass and to receive the Lord in the Eucharist. By this we are strengthened in faith and we pray that being thus strengthened that when we do enter into that battle that we are not found weak but strong in faith.