Abraham buried his wife at Canaan, a foreign land but one which God had promised to him at some time in the future – what faith Abraham had in God’s word! Next Abraham sends his servant out with instructions to find a wife for Isaac. Along the way, the servant prays to God for success. He stops near a well where he finds what he has prayed for, a woman who is not only willing to draw water for him to drink but also offers to draw water for his camels. This episode mirrors the encounter that we read later in John’s gospel where Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink at the well, going against the conventions of his culture.
The faithful servant copies the actions of his master Abraham, praising and praying to God and both his wishes and those of Abraham are fulfilled, a wife is found for Isaac.
In Matthew’s gospel we hear of a leper who also shows great faith in Jesus. Jesus heals him immediately and tells the man to show himself to the priests and to take the customary offering which will be a ‘public testimony’ of his cleansing.
This is followed by the familiar story of the Roman Officer who approaches Jesus seeking healing for his servant. Such faith does the Roman show (much greater than the chosen people of Israel, that the servant is healed at a distance and this great act of faith is recalled at Mass every day when we pray “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Jesus then issues a warning: that it is those who practice great faith who will be saved, there is no automatic entry to eternal life, even for those who are part of the chosen race. This is a warning to us today. Just calling ourselves Christians or being baptised is not sufficient. We must, like Abraham, and the Roman Officer, demonstrate our faith and put it into practice so that by the example of our lives, others may be saved.
Whilst we will inevitably fall along the way, others will see that we repent, we turn back to and trust in God and he will show us the path to eternal life.
Scripture: Genesis 23:1-24:51 Matthew 8:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 3:1-6