Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Will Make a Covenant with You

I Will Make a Covenant with You

Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O’Sullivan

The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:  “Fear not, Abram!  I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.”  But Abram said, “O Lord God, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?... (The Lord) took him outside and said:  “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.  Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”  Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.  He then said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession”…   It was on that occasion that the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:  “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates.”  (Genesis15:1-2, 5-7, 18)

Jesus said to his disciples:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.  By their fruits you will know them.”   (Matthew 7:15-16a)


The Lord remembers his covenant forever.  (Psalm 105:8a)


As I read this account in Genesis of God’s covenant with Abram (not yet renamed Abraham), I could just picture God gazing upon the world and calling Jesus and the Holy Spirit over to look with him.  “You know, sometimes I just don’t get these humans.  When I first created them, I gave them everything they could ever want.  But were they satisfied?  No.  They had to try and be their own gods.  Now look at this guy Abram.   I want to gather a people I can call my own, who will call me their God, and I asked him to be the leader of this people.  I offered him my love, my protection, and great rewards.  But is he grateful?  Does he thank me?  No, Abram says, ‘what good are those things?  Here’s what I really want – an heir.’  It’s disheartening.” 

We’ve all been there, offering someone a gift from the heart, maybe even the words “I love you,” only to have our gift spurned or ignored.  It really hurts.

We’ve also all been ungrateful recipients from time to time, thinking more about ourselves and our desires than the loving intentions of the giver.

However, this story in Genesis is more about God’s steadfast love than about Abram’s or our indifference and ingratitude.  Because when God says, “I will be your God,” he really means it.  He will always be there.  Even in the face of Abram’s complaints, God doesn’t turn away.  God leads Abram outside to look at the night sky and promises him descendants as numerous as the stars.  God also reminds him of the land he has promised.  God never gives up on us.

It’s up to us as to whether or not we put our trust in God.  As Jesus reminds us in the Gospel reading, there are always plenty of people or causes out there competing for our allegiance, but most of them in the end prove to be false.  Jesus also says we’ll know who’s who by their fruits.  The works of the Lord always reflect the love and faithfulness of our God.  Abram must have realized that just before he declared his faith in the Lord.  And, because Abram was willing to trust God, God made a covenant with him.


God is always reaching out to us, calling us his own, but he never forces us to be his people.  Faith and trust as well as gratitude are up to us.   How are you doing on being God’s friend?

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