19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 7

Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Our first reading conjures up memories of the Passover event when the Jewish people were freed from their cruel oppressors in Egypt. God intervened to save his people and punished their adversaries. The same note of divine retribution is struck in today’s gospel, though Jesus warns us in the parables that we ourselves may be the target of divine accountability if we fail to heed the urgent warnings of approaching judgment. It’s important that we not moralize on these passages as if they are meant to depict a simple reward or punishment treatment from God. The intention rather is to energize and inspire us to respond to the divine call of grace so that we approach the present moment with a sense of urgency and not delay our response to God.
Our second reading from the letter to the Hebrews is a beautiful description of the power of faith and traces the theme of faith through the bible. Most meditations on faith begin with Abraham, who is rightly called “our father in faith.” The three great religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all trace their first inspiration back to Abraham, a source of unity that unfortunately is too frequently ignored in our world today. Faith is described not as a body of certain knowledge that gives us a privileged position over others. Rather faith is seen as a signpost pointing us in the direction of the homeland that is promised to us by God.
—Walter Modrys SJ

This week’s readings can be found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.