Faith the presence of light in darkness
Abraham was the one who hoped against hope, and put his trust in
a God he had only just begun to know. "Abram put his faith in the Lord and this faith was considered as justifying him" Rom 4.3. He foreshadows all those who will discover the true God and who place their salvation in God alone and in His word. "To hear Yahweh is first of all to believe him"
(Deut 9.23) "they murmur in their tents and would not obey his voice. Ps.106.25
God made a covenant with is people, and this covenant asks for faith "though their hearts were not steadfast towards him nor were they faithful to his covenant." Proclaiming the wonders of the past and above all the wonder of the Exodus, the activity of the invisible God was for Israel a confession of faith. In retelling the story the people of Israel kept alive the memory of the love of their God. But often Israel failed to listen to the words spoken by the prophets. "For they did not listen to my words, says the Lord, though I kept sending them my servants the prophets, only to have them go unheeded Jer. 29.19. Like Abraham and Moses the prophets based their lives on faith in Yahweh in their calling and in their mission. Like the prophets the wise man of Israel knew that they could count on Yahweh alone to be ‘saved’
"Do not say, I will repay evil, wait for the Lord and he will help you." Pr. 20.22
When humanly speaking everything seems to be against the just man, a total response of faith is called for, total confidence in God, a faith in a God that remains all powerful "I know that you are all-powerful what you conceive you can perform. Jb 42.2.
The whole Psalter proclaims the faith of Israel in Yahweh, a faith full of confidence in a powerful creator, a universal king, one who is merciful and faithful, and just. For the writer
of the Psalms God is:
A rock Ps. 18
Our help and our shield
One who will always remember us and bless us Ps. 115
Creator of all Pss 8 and 104
All-powerful Ps 29
Faithful Lord Ps 89
Merciful, kind and just Ps 103
thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His mercy endures forever. Ps 136
Our refuge and strength Ps 46
One who save the upright of heart Ps 7
A stronghold Ps 62
To hear the Word and do it, was peculiar to the disciples. Mk. 1.15, Lk. 8.12. Faith in Jesus unites the disciples with Him. This faith comes from God, Mt. 11.24 and 16.17 and one day will be shared by the nations. When Jesus took the road to Jerusalem to be obedient unto death, he brought to perfection this faith of the ‘poor’ showing absolute confidence in Him who could by the resurrection save him from death. "During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and "he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard." Heb. 5.7
Faced with the trial and scandal of the cross the faith of the disciples is severely tried. Peter did not lose faith, but his faith did not have the courage to assert itself. The faith of the disciples had still to take a decisive step to become the faith of the Church. This step was taken when after many hesitations in the face of the appearances of Jesus they believed in his resurrection. They become witnesses to all that Jesus had said and done Acts 10.34, they proclaim Him Lord and Christ the faith of the Church is born. For the newly born Church as for Jesus, faith was the gift of God Acts 11.21.
The gospel of John is very much a gospel of faith, towards the end he tells us that his purpose in writing it is to bring his reads to share his faith by believing that "Jesus is the Christ the Son of God’ Jn 20.30. Faith then is explicitly centred on Jesus and His divine glory. Belief in Jesus and in his name is necessary.
Many believed in him. No one who believes in him will ever thirst. Anyone who did accept him, he empowered to become children of God. These are they who believed in His name any believed in His name. John insists on the invisible consequence of faith. For him who believes there will be no judgment 5.23. He is already risen 11.25, walks in the light 12.46 and possesses eternal life 3.26.
Faced with the trials to come the Apocalypse exhorts believers to the
patience and fidelity of the saints unto death Ap. 13.10. At the source of his fidelity there is always the paschal faith in Him who could say "I have been dead and behold I am living forever and, comes to an end and we shall see God as He is, therefore the faith of the Pasch will again be proclaimed. "Such is the Victory which has triumphed over the World our Faith" Faith founded on Christ crucified, a scandal to the Jews, to the Gentiles foolishness, but for us, the elect, the strength and wisdom of God, is the way of salvation, which no earthly perplexity can defeat because it knows that God
is sufficient in all thing s and all difficulties, that his unrivalled majesty shines more brightly when man is at the end of his resources which moves mountains and accomplishes miracles of charity entirely fixed on the future of God, stronger than all the threats of the world, then all armies and kingdoms. Which "hopes against hope" because it knows that every disaster brings in its train submission to God and therefore a new beginning, a new possibility of liberty?
May Christ live in your hearts through faith (Eph 3:17)
In all righteousness hold faith up before you as your shield. It will help to extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
We who live by day must be alert putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
"This is the victory which overcome the world our faith/"
1 John 5:4