Word Columns for Sunday August 12

This Sunday is the nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Daniel Harrington writes about faith and hope. Sunday’s reading from Hebrews, he notes, "contains the only explicit definition of faith in the Bible: ’Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.’" Dianne Bergant also reflected on Hebrews in her column from 2001: "The phrase "seeing is believing" is well known to us all. It suggests skepticism; it implies that we will not accept the truth of something unless we can somehow see it. While the phrase may validly express a concern for verification, it contradicts basic religious ideas. To paraphrase the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews: ’Not-seeing is believing.’ In other words, we do not believe what we see; rather, we believe what we do not see. Confusing? But then so is real faith.’ And John Donahue noted that the reading from Hebrews has implications for the church today as it embarks on the job of formation: "Hebrews portrays faith as ’realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things unseen,’ and the Gospel speaks of true treasures. Every program of formation, from parish to seminary, must be, like Abraham’s journey in Hebrews, a pilgrimage of faith, which prepares a treasured person with a transformed heart." Tim Reidy, Online Editor

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