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Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Rom. 4:13, 16-18 & Lk. 12:9-12

There was no better example of faith that Saint Paul could choose for the Romans than Abraham. He listened when God spoke to him even though he did not always understand all that God asked of him. But what faith he had when asked to uproot his family and go to a strange land. He believed God when He told him in his old age that he, and his wife who was barren, would have a son. And at God’s request he was even willing to sacrifice his only son who was born after a long wait.

He was rewarded for his persevering faith: in a free gift from God he was endowed with grace - he did not earn it. It is by grace that we are saved and by grace the Holy Spirit enters our hearts and empowers us to live a life dedicated to God.

By trying to be good we do not earn God’s favour because all the good within us is attributable to Him. We must open our hearts to God and He then showers us with His grace. It was because Abraham was docile to God that he became the father of many nations.

Jesus knew that the animosity of His enemies was building to a fever pitch. If He went to Jerusalem for the Passover He was certain that He would suffer the same fate that all the great prophets of Israel had suffered – martyrdom for the sake of the truth of God. So Jesus took every opportunity to prepare his disciples to carry on His work after He was gone.

He wanted them, and he wants us, to acknowledge Him openly and boldly, despite the difficulties and dangers inherent in doing so. Sometimes we think of the possibility of martyrdom and must wonder if we would be able to be faithful to Jesus if it meant death. We may think that we witness to Him pretty well in our everyday lives but do we really? We listen to attacks on Jesus and His Church without objection, sometimes even nodding or smiling as if to let on that we agree. We would never say such things ourselves, but do we stand up for Jesus even when there is no possibility of martyrdom? How many of us have a terrible time just making the sign of the Cross before a meal in a restaurant because people might think we are Catholics?

What is this sin that Jesus mentions against the Holy Spirit in today's Gospel which will never be forgiven? It is the sin of denying the known truth. If you know something is the truth and you deny it, how can you be forgiven?

Jesus talks about not preparing a defence when we are brought before opposition. Yes, there are times in life when we are not given time to rehearse, or even think about what we are going to say. Then all we can do is depend on the inspiration of the moment. The amazing thing is that we often come up with our most profound insights in such situations! Those must be the occasions the Holy Spirit inspires us.

Lord Jesus, make us Your bold witnesses, never afraid to speak up for the truth and for You, and may You acknowledge us before Your Father in Heaven.

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