3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 24, 2021

3A21.    Jonah 3:1-5, 10.   When the people of Nineveh heard from Jonah that God would destroy Nineveh in forty days, they believed God.  They turned from their evil way and repented.  God saw their actions of repentance and did not do as he had threatened.  In doing God’s will rather than their own sinful will, they were saying by their actions that God was the ruler and king over their lives, and nothing and no one else.

Mark 1:21-28.     Jesus began his public ministry “after John had been arrested,” “proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.’”  Those who belong to the kingdom of this world come under Satan, the ruler of this world. (John 15:19 & 16:11)  In John 18: 36b, Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”    Jesus called Simon and Andrew, James and John to follow him.”  Those who follow Jesus abandon the call of the devil and this world to follow them.  Empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit those who follow Jesus have chosen to belong to God and God’s Will. (John 17:6)  By his very presence in our lives, Jesus conquers the world for those who follow him. (John 16:33d)  Jesus enables us to be safe from the evil one even though we remain in this world.  (John 17:12) We live in the time of fulfillment in that we have been enabled by the Holy Spirit to have God as our life and not this world as our life.  God is our King and not Satan.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31.   Paul writes, “The time is running out; and then he writes: “For the world in its present form is passing away.”  When we look at our present time on this earth from the perspective that our life after leaving this earth is for an eternity, then we can envision that “time is running out,” and that “the world in its present form is passing away” for us.  People of this world live with the mindset that their life is from ‘cradle to grave’.  As followers of Jesus we always live in eternity, now and forever.

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2018

3B18.   Jonah 3:1-5, 10.  The Lord sent Jonah to Nineveh to call the inhabitants, who were pagan enemies of the Jewish people, to repent for their sins.  “They proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.”  Seeing their repentance, God “repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them.”  Last Sunday God with all his authority (“you are not your own”), entered into our world.  This Sunday in all his authority he calls all the world to repentance, to turn from ungodly ways to godly ways.

Mark 1:14-20.  John the Baptist has been arrested by Herod, leaving the center stage open to the one is greater than he.  Jesus proclaims, “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent; and believe in the gospel.” Jesus brings the presence of his kingdom into this world (cf. John 18:36-37).  The Scriptures that foretold of the coming of the Messiah are now to be fulfilled.  Jesus is commanding us to turn away from believing in anything but the gospel or good news that he brings us.  Jesus replaces the old Israel with its twelve tribes by now beginning to select his twelve Apostles.  Although they abandoned their nets now to become “fishers of men,” later they are pictured as plying their trade because they still needed to work for food.  Jesus in this gospel twice uses the expression that they “followed him.”  The kingdom of God came to them through the presence of Jesus himself, his words and his actions.  The person of God is at the very center of our faith.  God uses the institution of the Church, the people of God, the Church’s teachings, liturgy, sacraments, the Scriptures and many other ways to make himself and his divine life present to us.  It is really God Himself who is with us as the essence of revelation.  Our religion is centered in God and everything else is a help to have God as the very center of our lives.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31.  “I tell you brothers and sister, the time is running out.” And at the end of this reading it says: “For this world in its present form is passing away.”  The message is clearly not to live ingrained in the way things are in the ordinary world of today but to realize that as time goes on everything is going to change according to the designs of God and not the powers of this world.  Loosen your grip on things so to let God take hold instead of you holding on.

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 17, 2021

2B20.    1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19.  This reading says, “At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet.”  When Eli, Samuel’s teacher and master, realizes that the Lord was speaking to Samuel, Eli tells Samuel to respond by saying, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”  Spiritual life is a whole dimension beyond physical life.  Spiritual life is the developing of a relationship with the invisible God, as the loving Lord of our lives.  It requires faith to take a trusting, humble step beyond the security of living in just a physical world where our bodies are what life is all about.   The spiritual life is based on prayer which is an ongoing communication with the God who is life for us.  The spiritual life is living completely dependent on God.

John 1:35-42.  John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God.  In John 1:29b, John calls Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, which is to say that Jesus is the Messiah.  John mentioned to two of his followers that Jesus, who was walking by, was the Lamb of God.  One of those two was “Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter.”  Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus, who adopted Simon as one of his own by renaming him Peter.  That was Jesus‘ way of calling Peter to be one of his Apostles.  Prayer is not a monologue where we talk to the invisible God and he just listens without responding.  Prayer is a dialogue where God also speaks to us but usually not in words that are audible.  We learn how to listen by his enabling us to interpret the signs that he sends to us as his way of communicating with us.  That gift from him to us grows and develops as our relationship with the invisible God deepens, as we draw closer and closer to him, as we fall more and more in love with him.

1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20.  This reading says, “Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.” The goal of our spiritual growth is to become one with the Lord while still maintaining our individuality.  We are flesh just as Jesus became flesh but at the same time retaining and growing in the spiritual.  “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord.”  In biology we are listed as one of the animals of this earth.  However, we are not to be governed by our animal instincts and demands but by our calling to be children of God.  Non-human animals do not have a morality but we humans do.  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been purchased at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body.” We are not the god of ourselves doing whatever we may wish; only God is the God of our lives.  In the ongoing development of our faith lives we more and more recognize him and interact with him as God and Lord over us.  We are not our own but one of his.  Living here on earth now as one of his, later he will take us into his home in heaven as our God and Lord for all eternity.

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2018

2B18.   1Samuel 3:3b-10, 19.  This Sunday opens our walk with Jesus through his public ministry.  The foundation is being laid down as we hear Samuel say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  The first reading calls upon us to have minds open to hear and understand; and wills open to obey and love.  In our first reading Samuel hears the Lord calling but does not know that it is the Lord who is calling because he does not know how to listen for the voice of the Lord.  The first reading says, “At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet.”  The Lord became a human in our midst to say in part that he did not want to be just a distant person far from us.  He came then and comes now to become a familiar part of our lives.  It is not the familiarity that breeds contempt but rather engenders love.

When asked by a Pharisee in Matthew 22:36-37, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the great?”  Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  This is a new and old testament demand that God be the love of our life, the love that is our life.  We can only truly love someone with whom we are in personal and cordial contact.  We can know a cold fact, e. g., there is a God out there somewhere in the sky, but that is not love.  God makes himself familiar to us in prayer.  It is a relationship that grows by our becoming more and more committed to him and his will, treating him as the God of our lives.  It is a relationship that grows deeper and stronger day by day until the day we die to this world.

John 1:35-42.  When John the Baptist said of Jesus to two of his disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” they knew that he was telling them that Jesus is the Messiah.  So when Andrew, one of those two disciples, found his brother, Simon, he said to him in reference to Jesus, “We have found the Messiah.” What does it mean to be called the Messiah?  In Mark 15:32a, the chief priests with the scribes said, “Let the Messiah, the King of the Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”  In John 18:36a, Jesus says to Pilate, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”  The Messiah is the king of the world beyond this material world.  Then in John 18:37c, Jesus says, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”  Jesus is the voice of truth because he himself is the truth.  Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  The very person of Jesus that is the Word spoken by the God the Father is the truth.  This material world, a world in which things are here today and gone tomorrow, can limit us to the world of our earthly horizon, blinding us to the world that is beyond it, the spiritual world that is forever.  The Messiah came to lead us to the fullness of truth, to the whole of reality.  In Luke 9:35, God the Father came as a voice from a cloud saying, “This is my chosen Son: listen to him.”  Hear him by letting not only his words but also his very person be the very life of our hearts, minds and souls.  Jesus changes the name of Cephas to Peter, which means rock, to say that Jesus will be a new life for him, a rebirth in the Christ, which will make of him a whole new person in Christ.  Jesus wants to do the same with all of us.

1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20.  In this epistle God reveals the fullness of truth that is so diametrically opposed to the thinking of this world.  “You are not your own.  For you have been purchased at a price.”  Our bodies, for that matter, our lives, our very persons belong to the God who gave us life so that we may live forever in the joy of his love.  The attitude of this world is that this is my body and I will do whatever I want with it.  As the angel Lucifer did, we can reject God’s ownership over us and so merit that eternal future called hell. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.”  To have eternal life we must be joined to the only one who is able to give eternal life, Jesus.  Any immorality of the body, or otherwise, is a choice to separate ourselves from Christ.  When we choose to belong to Christ, how wonderful it is to realize each day of our lives that we are temples of the Holy Spirit!  Jesus said in John 16:13: “But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”  When Jesus left this world he gave us the Holy Spirit to enable us to have Jesus who is truth himself as our daily life so that we can find our way to heaven and the joy of an eternity there.

Romans 13:14.

Baptism of The Lord – January 10, 2021

BaptB21.   Isaiah 55:1-11.   Many of the Hebrews, who had been taken off into captivity to Babylonia, eventually integrated themselves into Babylonia as prosperous citizens, so much so that, when invited to go back to Judea, only a remnant later returned.  In this scripture the Lord is inviting all of them to return, promising them a wondrous bounteous richness.  “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near” is to say God is inviting you back now but will not hold out the invitation for long.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways, says the Lord.”  God is telling all the Jews that they must think as He thinks and not as human beings do.  “My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”  When God speaks, his words accomplish their purpose.

Mark 1:7-11.    “John the Baptist proclaimed: ‘One mightier than I is coming after me.’”  John’s baptism of Jesus announces the adult entrance of God’s Son into this world as do “the heavens being torn open” with the Spirit “descending upon him” and a voice proclaiming “from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” This is a reaffirmation of the proclamation of the angels at his birth: “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”  (Luke 2:11)  He is all-powerful yet humble, calling on us to respond positively to his loving presence but not forcing us.  Just as the Jews were invited to go back to their homeland in the first reading, so too we are called upon by God at Jesus’ baptism to make our home with Jesus who came into our world to be at home with us.

1 John 5:1-9.   When we fully accept and live with Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we receive birth into the spiritual life, “begotten by God,” becoming a child of God.  With Jesus as our Lord, we obey his will.  Who is our Lord and Master, Jesus or the ways of this world?  When we believe in Jesus, entrusting ourselves to him as the Son of God, we conquer and are victorious over the world’s claim over us to be the driving and ruling force in our lives.

His baptism in the waters of the Jordan along with the Spirit who descended upon him and his shedding of blood on the cross give witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  Let us accept him for who he should be for us, the Lord and Master of our lives, sent to us from the heavens by our loving God.

Epiphany Sunday – January 3, 2021

Epiph21.    Isaiah 60:1-6.   Isaiah was encouraging a disheartened remnant of Jews who had relatively recently been released from captivity.  They were a poor people with little resources who had returned to a land that had been ravaged by war and they needed to rebuild.  Isaiah is calling upon the people to have faith in their glorious God who will make them a light to the nations.  Proclaiming the praises of the Lord, the nations will come, bringing gold and frankincense.  Israel will be the light, the shining radiance.

Matthew 2:1-12.     Magi from the ancient faith of Persia were astrologers who attempted to read the stars as a way to read messages from the supernatural to the people of earth.  As Catholics we traditionally believe that God used a special star to lead the magi to the newborn king or Christ or messiah of the Jews.  The magi acceptedthe star as a guiding light from God.  They, who were Gentiles, came to do homage to the king of the Jews whereas Herod, representing the Jewish establishment, sought to kill theChrist.  John 1:5reads, Jesus is the light that “shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”  The way to Jesus is fraught with difficulties.  We seek to bring to him anything and everything that we have that is of value; after all, he gives us the most valuable thing we can ever have, eternity in heaven.

Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6.   Paul speaks of the mystery that was made known or revealed to him that he, in turn, makes known to the Gentiles.  It was a mystery because it had not been revealed to people in other ages.  The revelation is Jesus, God who became human to bring humans to God.  John 1:11-12 reads, “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.  But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God.”  How magnificent it is to be children of the almighty Creator of the universe!   God has invited us to belong to him.  However only by living daily in the power of the Holy Spirit can we make our divine adoption a genuine reality.

Epiphany Sunday – 2018

Epiph18.   Isaiah 60:1-6.  Isaiah writes here of the return of the Hebrews to Israel.  Isaiah 45:3a writes that God says, “I will give you treasures out of the darkness, and riches that have been hidden away,” probably meaning that King Cyrus, on allowing the Hebrews to go back to Israel, returned to them the treasures taken from the Temple by the Babylonians when the Jews were taken into captivity. The Wikipedia article on ‘Cyrus the Great in the Bible’ states, “Among the classical Jewish sources, besides the Bible, Josephus (1st century AD) mentions that Cyrus freed the Jews from captivity and helped rebuild the temple.  He also wrote to the rulers and governors that they should contribute to the rebuilding of the temple and assisted them in rebuilding the temple.”  I believe that Isaiah was referring to this when he wrote, “the wealth of the nations shall be brought to you.”  By extension we take this to mean that this is a prophetic reference to the gifts of the magi.

Matthew 2:1-12.  “Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews?  We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.’” Even though these magi were what we would call pagans; nonetheless, they were obviously in prayerful union with God so that they could come to know the significance of the star.In the Acts of the Apostles (10:34-35) it says, “Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, ‘In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.  Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” Prayer or communication with God is not only God listening to us but also us listening to God, i. e. a dialog, not just a monolog.  Not only does he tell us, “Ask and you shall receive,” but also, “have the ears to hear.”  The problem, of course, is that religion is primarily a faith and not a science.  Our God is invisible to our eyes and inaudible to our ears.  So there is the need for a spirit  ofdiscernment that what comes to us is truly from God.  We have the sacraments, sacred and religious buildings and literature and good people in our lives through whom the Lord often enough speaks to us.  1 John 4:1 reads: “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  However, only if we grow daily in giving our hearts and minds to the Lord through God the Holy Spirit, will we truly have the internal and external voices to speak to the Lord and the external and internal capacity to perceive the Lord speaking to us.

The devil communicates also.  Herod who so connived in his attempt to murder the child Jesus through his perceived gullibility of the magi and later through “the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16) seemed to be in close contact with the devil.  In these Scripture verses concerning the magi there is a stark contrast between the magi who lived in the light of Lord and Herod who dwelled in the darkness of the devil.  Psalm 72:10-11 reads: The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.  All Kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him.”  This psalm speaks of the qualities of the promised Messiah.  The magi help to fulfill the prophecies of Psalm 72.  They offer the best they have and so should we.

Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6.  “You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.”  “It has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus though the gospel.”  The magi represent the acceptance by the non-Jews who choose to be believers in the Christ as the Father’s Son and Redeemer.  We receive all that Christ came to give.  We are the adopted children of God the Father through the work of his Son.  In our own individual humble way may the love of Christ which the Spirit imbues in us reveal the glory of the tiny babe!

Holy Family – December 27, 2020

FamB20.    Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3.    God has made Abram rich but given him no children and his wife was too old to bear a child.  Abram’s hopelessness to have a family offered the opportunity to God to show his gloriously mighty caring power.  God promised Abram that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Then Sarah bore Abram a son in her old age.  When God made his promise to Abram, Abram simply accepted God at his word.  Our reading says, “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him (Abram) as an act of righteousness (holiness).”

Luke 22:22-40.   Matthew 1:24b says, “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.”  Although Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, once Joseph took his wife Mary into his home, Joseph legally became Jesus’ father.  Joseph and Mary, who are referred to in this Sunday’s reading as “the child’s father and mother,” brought the baby Jesus to the Temple to present him to the Lord.  Four times it is mentioned that they were doing everything as good Jews in compliance with the Jewish Law.  The sacrifice they offered in the Temple was the sacrifice mandated for the poorest of families. (Leviticus 12:8 & Exodus 13:2 & 12)  Simeon spoke prophetically that Jesus was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  Also traditionally it has been understood that the sword that would pierce Mary’s heart was Jesus’ crucifixion. Likewise Anna spoke prophetically that Jesus was the one for whom “all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”  In Jesus, divinity took on humanity.  Jesus was truly a human being without losing his divinity; however, his divinity had to stand back so as to allow Jesus’ humanity to develop as a true human being.  As Abram entrusted himself to God’s promise, so Mary put her faith in the word of God spoken through the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of Jesus, the “Son of the Most High.”

Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19. This reading begins: “Brothers and sisters: 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 received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age—and Sarah herself was sterile—for he thought the one who made the promise was trustworthy.”  This Sunday is dedicated to the Holy Family.  They are the Holy family because their lives individually and their life as a family unit were lived in their faith in God, entrusting themselves to the God who is trustworthy.  They invite us to do the same.

 

Holy Family – 2017

FAMB17.   Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3.  “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited to him as an act of righteousness.”  Abraham needed to have male descendant from his wife Sarah to establish a line of descendants, as the basis of God’s Chosen People.  He trusted that God would do what he had promised, despite the fact that Sarah was beyond her child-bearing years.  That trust was credited to him as an act of righteousness because he believed that no matter what God would never fail him. And so Isaac was born.

Luke 2:22-40.   “They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”  The act of presenting or consecrating a child to God is recognize and honor the fact that all life is from God and belongs to its creator and not to the one created.  God has given us conception as human beings to be loved by him forever and, being loved by him, we have been given the calling to be love as God is love, as his sons and daughters in the image of God our Father.  Simeon had the Holy Spirit who revealed to him that he would see the Messiah before he died.  Even before John the Baptist, Simeon introduced to the world the Messiah, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  Joseph and Mary, “the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him by Simeon.”  Simeon, foretelling Mary’s witnessing the passion and death of Jesus, says to Mary, “you yourself a sword will pierce.”  Simeon also foretells, “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel,” which I interpret to mean that many will go to heaven and many others to hell as they manifest from their hearts their acceptance or rejection of Jesus.  Anna, the prophetess, also foretold that Jesus would lead his followers to redemption.  “The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him.” Since the angel Gabriel came to Mary, one might imagine that the angel made timely visits to Jesus’ parent to keep them informed about their extraordinary child but apparently not.  After the incident of the boy Jesus teaching in the Temple, John 2:50-51 says, “But they did not understand what he said to them.  He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” Mary is a model for us of one who is attentive to God who reveals himself a little here and there.  As Mary stayed close to God, ready to listen to what God wishes to reveal, we should do the same.  Our gospel reading (John 112:40) ends, “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.  John 12:52 ends “And Jesus advanced {in} wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”  Jesus, in his humanity, was a real child who grew up under the care of his parents.  Jesus was not God masquerading as a pretend human being.  It is very difficult but necessary to keep in balance that Jesus is both human and divine. Joseph is referred to as his father because, even as a adopting father, he is a real parent to Jesus.  This feast of the Holy Family is an invitation to us to think of ourselves as members of God’s family here on earth, as members of the church, and as members-in-formation of God’s family in heaven.

Hebrew 11:8, 11-12, 17-19.  “By faith Abraham obeyed,” “not knowing” to what land God was calling him.  By faith he believed that God would make of Sarah and him a great nation, even though they were well beyond the age to have a child.  By faith he believed that, even if he offered up Isaac as a sacrifice, God would still raise up Israel as a great nation.  Abraham calls upon us to be a people of faith in the God who is always faithful.  In Mark 9:22b-24, the father of a boy whom a demon had possessed says: “’But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us’.  Jesus said to him, ‘If you can!’  ‘Everything is possible to one who has faith.’  Then the boy’s father cried out, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief!’”  We live in a world that that requires physical proof of everything but as people of faith, we realize we put our faith a God who made the universe.  We have a reality beyond the reality that only our eyes can see.

4th Sunday of Advent – December 20, 2020

Adv4B20.    2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16.   King David had come to a stable time in his life when he was victorious over his many enemies and quite well-to-do.  He naturally thought that it was time for him to do something for God who had so much for him.  It is so human to think of God as being on our level.  God is the source of all good.  Whatever anyone has that is good came, comes and will come from God.  No one can give him anything that is good that God himself has not had eternally.  God turns the tables on David.  David who already has received so much from God will receive even more.  God promises David a house or a dynasty that will be composed of one heir who will rule eternally.  The Lord God said to David thought the prophet Nathan, “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.”  “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”

Luke 1:26-38.   This gospel is traditionally referred to in the rosary as the Annunciation.  The angel or messenger of God announced to Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever.” This fulfills the prophecy found in the first reading.  Also Mary is celebrated for her submission or obedience to God’s will.

Romans 16:25-27.  Paul concludes this epistle with a doxology or hymn of praise: “To him—-be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  The long section between those words calls upon God to strengthen the Roman Christians to be obedient to God, which obedience is their faith lived out in their lives.