What You Say And Do Is Important!
Opening Question: How many of you have had promises made to you by important people? What were those promises? What happened?
First Reading: Hebrews 11:1-2,8-12
Doesn't faith convince us that God is working in unseen ways right now? Doesn't faith assure us that our hope for God's future Kingdom is not in vain? Even our ancestors told us about these things.
In faith, Abraham obeyed when he heard God's call and went to a land that he would receive as an inheritance. But, when he left, he did not know where he was going. In faith, he lived like a nomad in the land God promised him, as if it belonged to others. He passed on this life as a nomad on to his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. But these two were also heirs to the same promises God made. For Abraham yearned for the rock solid City God would design and build.
In faith, his wife Sarah became pregnant, even though she was too old to have children. She just knew that God would keep the promises he made.
All God's people were born from one man who died a long time ago. Now they are like the number of the stars in the sky or the vast grains of sand on the sea shore.
Bobbie made a promise, one of the biggest promises of his life. He promised his parents that he would do his homework before he watched TV or played with his friends. And he promised that he would work on his homework for two hours. At first it was hard. Bobbie got distracted and bored. But he always kept his promises.
His parents believed in Bobbie. They didn't see his grades come up right away. They didn't see nice notes home from the teacher the first week. But they knew Bobbie would do his best and everything else would follow.
Slowly, Bobbie's grades did come up. At the following teacher-parent conference, Bobbie's parents did have nice things to say about him. Everyone could see the results of Bobbie's promise and hard work. And they could see the results of the faith his parents place in him.
As the writer of this letter said, faith is believing in things we hope for. Bobbie and his parents believed he could do better in school. He backed up his belief with a promise. God believed in Abraham and Sarah and he backed up his faith with a promise. In the end, Bobbie's promise came true, so did God's.
When we believe in God, we say 'Yes' to his promises. We can be sure of the things we cannot see, because of it's God who is promising us.
Bridging Question: What would you do to prepare for a special guest to your house?
Gospel: Luke 12:35-40
Jesus told his followers:
Dress for quick action! Have your lights ready! Be like servants waiting for their master. When he returns home from a wedding reception and knocks on the door, the servants will open up right away. Those servants whom the master finds awake when he returns will really be happy. Listen! The master will dress like a waiter, seat the servants, stand alongside, and serve them. If the master comes in the middle of the night or before dawn and finds them awake, those servants will be really happy!
Certainly you're aware that if a homeowner knew when a thief would come, he would not let the criminal break in. So, be prepared like them! You don't know when the Son of Man will come!
Mandy jumped for joy when she heard the news. Her aunt would make her annual visit. 'Beatrice,' as everyone called the woman, was the president of a large business. She flew all over the world to meet people and make business deals. As an important person, she dressed in expensive suits, had expensive haircuts and make-up, rode in expensive cars, and dined in expensive restaurants. Beatrice was a very proper person.
She was a very proper person, until it came to Mandy. Then she 'let her hair down.' When her aunt visited, she was no longer 'Beatrice,' but Aunt Bunny. Aunt Bunny would take Mandy's family to all the fun places. They went to the water park, where Aunt Bunny challenged Mandy on the Water Whip. (Did they have fun on that ride!) They went to the theme park to ride the upside-down roller coaster. (Only Mandy and Aunt Bunny dared to go on that ride!) And they went to the beach where her aunt swam farther than anyone thought was safe. (She dared Mandy to swim out to her!). When they weren't at the beach or a park, they were at the movies or at a restaurant eating fattening foods they knew they shouldn't eat. ('Ice Cream?' Aunt Bunny asked after a huge pizza dinner. Everyone was so full they groaned 'NO!')
Mandy and her family prepared their home for Aunt Bunny like they were going to throw a birthday party. Her parents fixed up the spare bedroom especially for her. And they had a special celebration the first night she arrived. Everything would be ready for Aunt Bunny when she arrived.
That is, if she could come on time. More than once, Mandy's family would be disappointed because Aunt Bunny was delayed by business. 'I'm coming,' Aunt Bunny would say on her cell phone flying in her private jet. 'Please hold on for a few days. I'll be there soon!' So, her family would wait and hope she came soon.
Like Aunt Bunny, Jesus promised to come soon. But he did not say when he would return. Like Aunt Bunny, he encouraged his followers to watch and be ready. When we gather to hear God's word together, we wait for him. When we receive him in Communion, we hope to see him soon, face to face. So, let us watch and be ready. We don't know when or how he will come. But he will come. Soon.
Closing Question: If you knew Jesus would come to your house tomorrow, how would you prepare?