Life & Soul

Like Abraham, we are in search of our homeland

Abraham’s Journey to Canaan, by Pieter Lastman (1583–1633)

The 19th Sunday of the Year
Wis 18:6-9; Heb 11:1-2 & 8-19; Lk 12:32-48 (Year C)

“Our soul is waiting for the Lord. The Lord is our help and our shield. May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.”

The responsorial psalm at this Sunday’s Mass calls us to watchfulness, a patient “waiting for the Lord”. Such waiting springs from the hope that the Lord who has called us stands ready to reveal himself in each and every moment of our lives.

Such was the hope of the tribes of Israel as God called them from the slavery of Egypt. Trusting in God, they entrusted themselves to the blessings and dangers of the journey that lay ahead.

The Letter to the Hebrews likens us to pilgrims on a journey. We are invited to follow Abraham, to share a faith that was willing to set forth at God’s invitation, not yet knowing its final destination. His whole life was spent as a nomadic tribesman, a stranger and a foreigner. Like Abraham, we are strangers and nomads on earth. We are still in search of our homeland. Wherever life has placed us, we know that there is better to come, a heavenly homeland that rests in the presence of a loving God.

Jesus assured his disciples that he himself was their true and lasting homeland. “There is no need to be afraid little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.”

With, and in the presence of the Lord, we are on a journey. As with any journey, we are frequently distracted and tempted into false paths. To succeed in any journey we must abandon anything that hinders our progress. This was the advice of Jesus to those who would journey with him: “Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

In prayer we are called to examine our own hearts. What do we truly treasure, what gives meaning and purpose to our lives?

Only when we allow the Lord to become the centre and focus of our longing can we be confident that when the Lord comes we shall stand ready to greet him. The Lord will greet us in death. Let us pray that we might be prepared for that meeting through a watchfulness that has recognised the Lord’s presence in the unfolding of each day.