(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday – the Wednesday in the Octave of Christmas, and the final General Audience of the calendar year, 2016.
The Gospel reading upon which the main catechetical portion of the Audience focused was taken from the 15th chapter of the Book of Genesis, verses 3-6, in which we hear of God’s covenant with Abraham:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
In the English-language summary read out after the main catechesis, the pilgrims and tourists present were encouraged to look to Abraham – our Father in faith – as a model of for our lives even today.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises. Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land. Although the fulfilment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope. Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God. Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment. It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants. Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfilment of God’s promises. May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.
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