Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Set Solidly on Rock

June 25, 2009

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

But the LORD'S messenger told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD'S messenger, “that they will be too many to count. Besides,” the LORD'S messenger said to her: “You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you.” Genesis 16:9-11

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. Matthew 7:24-25


Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever. Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD, proclaim in full God's praise? Happy those who do what is right, whose deeds are always just. Remember me, LORD, as you favor your people; come to me with your saving help, That I may see the prosperity of your chosen, rejoice in the joy of your people, and glory with your heritage. Psalm 106:1-5


Yesterday, we reflected on the birth of John the Baptist. Today, we look further back into Biblical history to the birth of Ishmael.

As historical figures, John and Ishmael have some similarities in their qualities. Both went out into the desert. Both were detached from civilization. However, rather than comparing and contrasting the offspring, what do we learn about servant-leadership from their mothers?

Hagar. Elizabeth. Mary. All of these exemplary women epitomize the virtues Matthew writes about in today’s Good News. They listened. No matter how unwelcome the news might have been. Sarah probably did not want a baby by a man married to another. Elizabeth was old and past her prime birthing years as was Hagar. Mary was at the other end of the age spectrum…young, impressionable and pregnant by a man she was not planning to marry.

In all these stories, there could be the hint of tabloid scandal if they unfolded today. I can only imagine the headlines we might read at the grocery checkout line!

Eighty-six year old man fathers baby of slave!

Escaped slave returns to master; bears child. Family denies relationship.


Let your imagination fill in others. Then, forget the headlines. Inquiring Christians want to know more. Through the grace of God, these three woman advanced Biblical history by listening to the word of God as it was delivered to them. But they did not stop there. They acted upon the Word.

The New Covenant is not about descendants being numerous. The New Covenant is not about having abundant, verdant land to call your own. The new covenant is founded on the pillars of hearing and acting. These pillars are set solidly in bedrock. When we listen and hear the Word, we are compelled to act upon it. When Jesus listens and hears our petitions, he is, in turn and in love, compelled to act on our prayers.

What is Jesus hearing from you? What are you hearing from Jesus? May we do always what is just. When we do, we know that God will answer us.