|Memorial of St. Irenaeus
Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16 or 16:6-12, 15-16
Psalms 106:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
In the first reading what initially stuck me was how quiet and unobtrusive Abram is. Yet he is very much present and an important figure. He is the primary source of authority and power in this family trio. He steps aside and allows Sarai to make the decision to offer Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant to Abram as his concubine. We can only imagine the tension, jealousy, disharmony, and abuse that takes place as a result of Hagar’s pregnancy. However, all of this transpires within the laws of the time.
When Hagar can no longer endure Sarai’s abuse, she runs away and goes to the “spring.” It is there that the messenger of God comes to Hagar. In his gentle comfort the messenger encourages Hagar to return, not to run away. The verse, not included in today’s reading (#13), recounts Hagar’s response to the messenger who has befriended her and assured her that her future is secure. Hagar knows that she has encountered God and will live. To the Lord who spoke to her she gave a name, saying, “You are the God of Vision;” she meant, “Have I really seen God and remain alive after my vision?”
In the second reading we hear Jesus speaking about true discipleship. He is cautioning his followers against living according to the letter of the law and missing the spirit of the law. He is pointing out the distinction of acting out of power, even the power of the Spirit without listening to the voice of God. Jesus was speaking with the authority of God.
The underlying theme is one of personal relationship. Jesus, God is continually and very gently inviting me into a deeper and more personal relationship. What I hear is that this type of relationship is not possible if I live only by the letter of the law. This relationship is about hearing the voice of God and responding to it. It is about living out of the authority the Spirit. It is about knowing God and allowing God to know me.
In a quiet place, recall an experience of God. In this particular experience, in the imagination of my heart who was God for me – grandfather God, gardener God, artist God, mother God, father God, creator God, worker God, who?
What was the experience like?
What did we say to each other? What did I share with God about who I am? What did God share with me about who God is?
Savor the experience.
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord
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