WE ARE SAVED BY FAITH
St. Paul insists that salvation comes, not from the observance of the law which was of necessity only until the coming of Christ, but from faith, a faith like that of Abraham.
Some people are very proud of their family roots. In the east they may boast that their ancestors came over on the Mayflower, whereas someone in the west may lay claim to being the descendants of a Spanish family that was among the first Catholics in what is now the state of California. The truth is that as people of faith we all share a common ancestry which dates back to long before the birth of Jesus Himself.
The first Eucharistic Prayer in the Liturgy reminds us that Abraham is our father in faith. This extraordinary man lived in an era when he was surrounded by people who believed in many gods and who worshipped created objects such as the sun, the moon and the stars. God reveals Himself to Abraham as the one, true God, the Creator of heaven and earth. He shows that He is not some inanimate object or a nebulous force. Rather, He manifests to Abraham that He is a personal God, one who wishes to foster a loving relationship with His people.
God entered into a Covenant with Abraham - a promise that Abraham would be the father of many nations. His descendants would be linked to Abraham not by physical descent but by the unity of faith. God fulfilled His Covenant to Abraham by sending His Son, Jesus Christ. The Savior was born to bring the Covenant made with Abraham to completion.
Today, in the first reading from St. Paul, we hear Paul stress that God has first loved us, independently of what we have done or are. We call it "unconditional love," and most of us have also experienced it from our parents or are in the process of giving it to our children or others that surround us every day. What Paul insists on is that the best thing we can do is open ourselves to God's love and receive it with trust and confidence.
We can pray with the help of the words in today's Responsorial Psalm, "The Lord will remember His Covenant forever" (Ps 111:5) and He has made known to us His loving power. God's finger is what guides and directs us to what is good in our lives and supports us when we are challenged. Our deeds of love are the natural response to having received God's love ourselves. We don't have to pile up accomplishments to have God's love. It was given to us long before we were able to do that, usually in our baptism or in the gift of faith.
St. Paul insists that salvation comes, not from the observance of the law which was of necessity only until the coming of Christ, but from faith, a faith like that of Abraham. Abraham was God's chosen instrument for the transmission of this faith. Let us give praise and thanks to God for having given us Abraham as our father in faith.