Wednesday, June 24, 2015

God Answers

By Beth DeCristofaro

(Hagar) answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.” 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…But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came…And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Father of mercy, like the prodigal son I return to you and say: "I have sinned against you and am no longer worthy to be called your son."   
Christ Jesus, Savior of the world, I pray with the repentant thief to whom you promised Paradise: "Lord, remember me in your kingdom."
Holy Spirit, fountain of love, I call on you with trust: "Purify my heart, and help me to walk as a child of light."   
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
From:  Prayer of the Penitent, The Rite of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, (New York , NY: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1975) p.37-39.

This story of Sarai and Hagar would have made a riveting although uncomfortable to watch reality show.  Sarai, the “don’s” wife is controlling and mean spirited, even if in her society giving your maid to your husband was acceptable.  Hagar becomes insolent and disdainful when she becomes pregnant.  Where is clan leader Abram?  We can envision him out with the flocks and his male relatives, keeping his head low and hoping the two women battle it out without him while expecting dinner on time.

But these quarrelsome people are our ancestors in faith.  I can find a lot of relief in this while being quite glad I did not live in their tents!  I too have been manipulative and cruel.  I too have acted arrogantly and selfishly.  I have also declined to get involved when intervention might have solved problems or brought peace.  I find relief because God loves these disagreeable folks so much that he comes personally to let them know they are loved.  God intervenes on Hagar’s behalf and does not take back the promise to Abram and Sarai even though they act as if, perhaps, they don’t believe the promise.  God comes through with life for them all.

Jesus gives words of shelter, comfort and hope in spite of the rains and winds which will pummel all of our lives.  How do we hear them?  Can we offer shelter and love to others out of the solidity of our own grounding in Jesus?

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