The Promised Land

Heb 11:1-2, 8-19:

Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go.

By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God.

By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age—and Sarah herself was sterile—for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.

So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.

They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.

If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return.

But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.

Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

This was the second reading at last Sunday’s mass. The motto of the Order of Canada, “they desire a better country,” comes from the antepenultimate line.

Ironically, the “better country” referred to is clearly heaven. Not Canada. And anyone who supposes Canada is the goal is scorned here as without faith. “If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return.” The goal is no earthly

The passage points out that the things God promised to the patriarchs of the Old Testament did not come true during their lifetimes. So did he break his promise? Should they care about what happens to others after their death?

They did, and they accepted the promises, because they considered themselves aliens on earth. This is the essence of faith; as defined in the first lines here. “The realization of what is hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.”

Their true home was the eternal; which is among us at all times as the imagination, and in which we live forever. This is the “promised land” or land of promise.

Source link