“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for”

Note: Father Bartolomeo was the speaker at our Catholic Citizens Forum Luncheon on August 9, 2013. In his homily, he comments on the experience.

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Did you find this statement from the author of the Book of Hebrews puzzling? (Hebrews 11, 1-2). When we hope for something we usually anticipate something in the future. How then can something hoped for become a “realization” and “evidence of things not seen”occurring now? Does this confirm that “seeing is believing.” The very notion seems contradictory.

We read in the Book of Wisdom ( 18, 6-9) and the Gospel of Luke (12: 32-48) several examples of people who had ‘realized’ the benefits of faith, hope and charity in their lifetimes. Abraham and his son, Isaac, and his grandson, Jacob, for example, were each promised by God a life surpassing any other that they could not have imagined while what was promised them was not ‘realized’ for hundreds of years and what Saint Paul in one his letters had described ” What eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the man’s heart imagined what God has prepared for those who love him”. (1 Corinthians 2, 9).