Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, Aug. 7, 2016

"They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar." -- Hebrews 11:13

“They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar.” — Hebrews 11:13


August 7, Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle C. Readings:

      1) Wisdom 18:6-9

      Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-22

      2) Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 or Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12

      Gospel: Luke 12:32-48 or Luke 12:35-40


By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

I make very few promises in my life. I do my best to never say the word “promise” unless I know I can deliver on it.

However, when I was a youth minister, there was one promise I would routinely make. I would start off every new confirmation class saying, “Confirmation is a time to seriously consider your relationship with the Lord.”

I would go on to explain that if they came every week, listened to the teachings, participated in the group discussions and were at the very least open to growing in faith, I could promise that they would leave at the end of the year changed people. I was never wrong.

This was an easy promise to make, mainly because I was not the one keeping the promise. I know that all God needs to transform a person is a heart that is open. So my job was to create an atmosphere that would help these young people open their hearts to the possibility that an unseen God loves them enough to die for them. Once the heart was open, the promise would begin to bloom.

God is a promise-keeper, even when we cannot see to completion the promise kept. This week’s reading from Hebrews tells the story of Abraham and Sarah, and the promise that God made to them that they would be the parents of a nation as numerous as the stars in the sky. But they died with a modest family, nothing close to the size of a village, let alone a nation.

Hebrews says, “They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar.” I really like that verse because it speaks of hope and the power of faith. Earlier in the same reading we hear that “faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”

Life may not always turn out the way we plan, and we cannot always see past our circumstances to the promise of God, but if we lean on our faith and hold on to hope, we can get a glimpse of what remains unseen.


What promise from God have you seen come to pass in your life? What promises are you still waiting to come to fruition?

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