Check out Fr. Ryan's site where I got this from and listen to his podcast The Catholic Underground
The Homily for 10th Sunday, Ordinary Time, 2008
Abraham was strengthened by faith and so his good works were credited to him as righteousness… All of us here have done good and noble things… Hopefully, we can all recall the moments when we realized we had really done something good. I remember the look on the faces of the poor in Mexico when we finished laying the foundation for the first real Church most of them had ever been in… It was a great work. Of course, I also remember pouring the last slab of concrete on Canal #3 in New Orleans when I worked construction on a concrete crew.
Both of those things are great tasks… Huge accomplishments… What separates them isn’t the concrete, it’s the “Why”. I wasn’t in that canal out of the goodness of my heart… But then again, I wasn’t in Mexico out of the goodness of my heart either… I went to Central Mexico because my religious superiors told me to. And I believed then as I do now that obedience to the Church is obedience to God.
Abraham didn’t build an altar and almost sacrifice his son on his own - he was directed there. And he went, because of faith!
This is why goodness, sweetness, niceness or even religiosity are insufficient. It’s not enough for people to say about us that “he was a good person” or “she was always sweet to her family.” These are good things - but they are not faith and good works alone are not enough.
Faith requires us to put God in the Driver’s seat. It requires us to set aside our ideas, our preconceptions, our understandings and our opinions… It requires us to let the Lord direct us where we may not want to go. It challenges us to humility and to trust. It challenges us to set aside the culture of lifelessness that comes through the TV.
And it does this so that we can finally come before God unburdened… Faith allows us to stop being our own messiahs and to be like a little child - but it doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t come from a self-help book and it doesn’t come from me setting my own rules…
Faith is cultivated by obedience - plain and simple. Abraham obeyed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. We obey the Church and it will credited to us in the same way… Obedience to the Church is in spiritual terms, obedience to God. Obedience is thought of as a dirty word by our culture and by some Christians - but the Scriptures are clear - obedience is what the practice of faith is all about. And so without fear, without pride, and without holding anything back, let us take up the work of faith.