Faith and Almsgiving 19th Sunday Ordinary Time C

Faith and Almsgiving 19th Sunday Ordinary Time C

Wisdom 18:6-9, Psalm 33, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19, Luke 12:32-48

In today’s second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews Abraham is praised for his faith. One way Abraham is praised for his faith is for trusting God when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. 

According to the Letter to the Hebrews, Abraham reasoned that since God can raise even the dead to life then after Abraham sacrifices his son Isaac God would restore Isaac to Abraham by raising Isaac from the dead. However, right before Abraham was about to sacrifice his son on an altar, an angel told Abraham to not “lay hands” on his son, Isaac, and instead to offer to God a ram that was caught “in a thicket by his horns”. (Genesis 22:13)

 Through faith, Abraham had vision of a reality that would come much later, the reality of God raising a son from the dead, in this case God’s own son, Jesus Christ.[1] In describing faith as giving us a new vision to see reality, even the most difficult and hard to accept reality, Pope Francis writes in his Encyclical Lumen Fidei that by faith “we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; … a vision of the future opens up before us … guiding our journey through time.”[2]

In the Gospel passage Jesus provides an example of doing something with the fresh vision, new eyes of faith. When we give alms to the poor, explains Jesus, we are storing up an “inexhaustible treasure in heaven”. In commenting on this passage, Saint John Chrysostom, cited by Brant Pitre, exhorts us to see those who are poor with new eyes of faith. [3]  

When we view the poor through the eyes of faith, we see a suitable altar to offer sacrifice to God. In other words, when we help those who are poor we are offering a sacrifice pleasing to God. This means, states Pitre, “every poor person to whom you give alms is kind of like a living altar, a living representative of [Jesus] Christ.”[4]

            When we give alms, when we help the poor may we do so from the perspective of faith by seeing the poor as an altar, the altar of Jesus Christ who offers himself to God for the salvation of the world.

God Bless,

Father Peter


[1] Brant Pitre, “The Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C),” catholicproductions.com, 13.

[2] Francis, “Lumen Fidei, 2013,” vatican.va, https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20130629_enciclica-lumen-fidei.html.

[3] Brant Pitre, “The Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C),” catholicproductions.com, 13.

[4] Brant Pitre, “The Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C),” catholicproductions.com, 13.

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