Second Reading: Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19

A reading from the letter to the Hebrews.

Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.  Because of faith, our ancestors were approved by God.  By faith, Abraham and Sarah obeyed when they were called, and went forth to the place they were to receive as a heritage; they went forth, moreover, not knowing where they were going.  By faith Abraham and Sarah sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with their children, heirs of the same promise; for they were looking forward to the city with foundations, whose designer and maker is God.  By faith, Sarah received power to conceive even though she was past the age, for she thought that the One who had made the promise was worthy of trust.  As a result of this faith, there came forth from one woman and one man, themselves as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore.

All of these died in faith.  They did not obtain what had been promised but saw and saluted it from afar.  By acknowledging themselves to be strangers and foreigners on the earth, they showed that they were seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking back to the place from which they had come, they would have had the opportunity of returning there.  But they were searching for a better, a heavenly home. Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, having prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham when put to the test, offered up Isaac.  Abraham who had received the promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your descendants be called.”  He reasoned that God was able to raise from the dead, and so he received Isaac back as a symbol.

The Word of God recorded in the letter to the Hebrews.