Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16 or 16:6-12, 15-16
Psalm 106:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
The first part of today’s gospel reading is about consistency between stated goals and steps to reach them. Calling myself a follower of the Lord will take me nowhere, unless I bring that proclaimed allegiance to bear on the way I live, unless I am “one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” Most of us realize this and so we set about doing something to qualify as legitimate followers of the Lord. But that is where the second part of today’s gospel reading plays an important role.
When we think about bringing order to our house, we spontaneously think of interior decoration and painting the windows, doors and siding to make the house look better. Nothing wrong with embellishing the house, of course. But it seems that through today’s example the Lord invites himself to walk with us through our basement (the part outsiders and visitors do not see) and to inspect our foundations. If the foundations are not firm, all the decoration will be just busy work that adds nothing to the solidity of the building and the house will likely collapse in a flash flood.
In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola presents three
persons, who realize they have to do something to bring their lives in
line with what God desires of them. One of them, not lacking in sincerity,
decides it is too much trouble and does nothing about it... except perhaps
when death is sensed to be near. A second one decides to do something,
but not too costly (let’s not be fanatical about it)... perhaps make a
few novenas, read a couple of good books, make a donation to some pious
work... decoration. The third person in total honesty goes all out at any
cost and lets go of whatever is interfering with living the way God moves
him/her to live. The first person does not even figure in the Lord’s
example today. The second is clearly building on sand and the third
seeks to build on rock. Where do I fit today?
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