THEME: THE HEAVENLY GPS
READINGS: Wisdom 18:6-9/ Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19 / Luke 12:32-48
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
With a map and the direction of a compass, one could travel to a previously unknown destination. Today, Information Technology has enhanced the use of a map and a compass. That is, Global Positioning System (GPS) or Google Map enhances the use of a map and a compass. In addition, it provides a voice message to facilitate one’s direction to a destination.
It is true that sometimes the destination that the GPS leads a person to is not what he/she desires. However, this is usually due to the inaccurate information input in the system or some interferences, e.g. a high mountain obstructing a feedback from a satellite.
Beloved, today I wish to introduce you to a new GPS which forever directs us to our destination or blessings with absolute accuracy. Its name is not Global Positioning System but God’s Positioning System (GPS). It has no interference, because it is not directed by a satellite in space but by Jesus in heaven. The information in the heavenly system is absolutely accurate because the input was done by God the Creator.
The voice message is provided by the Spirit of God; the Word of God is the map; and faith is the compass pointer. How can one lose his/her destination when using such a GPS – God’s Positioning System? No way!
That is why Abraham with his faith as the compass pointer on this heavenly GPS reached his previously unknown destination, according to today’s second reading (Heb. 11:1-2,8-19). In other words, Abraham had not seen the land God asked him to travel to, but faith made him convinced of its existence and led him to the land. Similarly, though we have not seen heaven, faith makes us convinced that it exists. Hence, the Letter to the Hebrews states that faith is “the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Like Abraham, therefore, let us walk by faith, not by sight.
Furthermore, Abraham hoped to become the father of many nations even though he was childless; and it was his faith that assured him of becoming the father of many nations. Even after the birth of his son, Isaac, Abraham was so sure of becoming the father of many nations that he was prepared to sacrifice Isaac through whom the promise of God was to be fulfilled. “Faith is”, therefore, “the assurance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1). This assurance is absolute because on the heavenly GPS, our faith (compass pointer) cannot fail us.
Beloved, in today’s first reading (Wisdom 18:6-9), we have another example of faith as the assurance of things hoped for: on that night of the destruction in Egypt, it was the faith in their God that determined the action of the Israelites. Hoping for the Lord’s deliverance, the faith of the Israelites was the compass pointer that directed them to sacrifice the lambs and use the blood to mark their door posts. Now, because of their faith in God they were spared the death of their first-born sons, whereas the Egyptians who had no faith in God experienced the bad fate of the deaths of the first-born sons.
Many of us do not know or understand the technology behind the man-made GPS, but we make use of it, listening to the voice message and following its compass pointer to our destinations. Similarly, though Abraham and the Israelites of old had no knowledge of Jesus as the heavenly satellite operator nor of the Holy Spirit as giver of the voice message, they followed their faith to receive God’s blessings.
More so, we who know Jesus as the satellite operator and the Holy Spirit as the giver of the inner voice message should never take our eyes off the compass of our faith. Like Abraham and the Israelites of old, the blessings that God has in store for us shall be received if we keep faith in Him. Ultimately, faith is the sure compass that points to our destination in heaven: there are many roads in life leading to different destinations, but only faith can show us the particular road that leads to heaven.
However, it is not enough to know the direction that a compass gives, for it is equally important to follow that direction. Similarly, faith does not merely assure us or convince us, but it also inspires us to take actions in the direction which God’s grace enables us to follow. In the case of Abraham, his action was the journey he made. In another instance, he was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. For the Israelites in Egypt, their faith-action was to sacrifice lambs and mark their door posts with the blood. And in the parables of today’s gospel reading (Luke 12:32-48), the actions or duties expected of the servants were the keeping and management of the master’s household until his return. Similarly, our faith should go with good deeds or the faithful performance of our duties.
Beloved, may the compass-pointer of our faith in the Heavenly Father who created God’s Positioning System (GPS), our faith in Jesus Christ who operates the celestial satellite and our faith in the Holy Spirit who speaks to our heart remain ever steady; amen! May every good deed we perform in the direction of our faith be a step closer to more blessings; amen! Finally, may all such steps ultimately end in the eternal happy presence of God in heaven; amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis