For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
A group of young Jesuits made retreat one summer at the North American Jesuit Martyrs’ Shrine in Auriesville NY. One hot and humid afternoon I found myself down in the unbroken quiet of the very ravine where Rene Goupil was tomahawked to death by an Iroquois brave. Goupil was trained in France as a surgeon and volunteered for the Jesuit mission to New France. He accompanied Fr. Isaac Jogues and his companions into the Mohawk territory of upstate New York, where later they were all captured by enemy Iroquois. In the silence of that summer afternoon I was very conscious that Fr. Jogues had buried Goupil’s body somewhere in that very ravine. I was truly standing on holy ground.
Today’s first reading from Romans plumbs the mystery of faith and grace that moved missionaries then and now to share the gospel with people in distant lands. This work of evangelization continues in our own day as lay and religious volunteers give weeks, months, even years of their time for the needs of others. Moving out of their comfort zones, often in languages not their own, the gospel comes alive through their faith and service.
Closer to home is the daily service of a visiting nurse caring for shut-ins, or someone who daily watches over a special needs child, or a single parent working two menial jobs who scrapes to put food on the table for kids at home. These realities mirror a different kind of martyrdom, no less precious to the Lord. It’s all that business of melding “flesh” and “spirit” in the service of Jesus who is always our salvation and hope.
What does today’s feast provoke in the “ravine” of my own heart and spirit?
–The Jesuit Prayer Team
Life-giving God, you consecrated the first beginnings of the faith in North America by the preaching and martyrdom of Sts. Isaac Jogues, John Brebeuf, Rene Goupil, and their companions. Stir our own hearts with the strength of the gospel. Renew our service to you and to all we meet along life’s road. We praise you, our God, now and always. Amen!
–The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!