Daily Reflection
July 2nd, 2003
Roc O'Connor, S.J.
Theology Department and Campus Ministry
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Genesis 21:5, 8-20
Psalm 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Matthew 8:28-34

I'd like to try something a bit different - at least different from what I've usually done here in the Daily Reflections Page.  Let's do a sort of guided meditation / active imagination on our two scripture readings.

So, if you're not game to try this, I'd invite you to return to the page that has the readings and find fruit in meditating on these rich passages.

Let us first consider the family of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.  They're not Ozzie and Harriet and Alice.  Such pressures: leaving home to go to God knows where, some kind of promise about offspring, a child by the servant, and finally a child by Sarah.  Consider how much they have been through.

Let us now look at Isaac.  The promised one.  The first born.  The apple of his parent's eye.  And his father takes him to Mt. Moriah at the command of God, ties him up, and puts a knife to his throat to slay him.  Suddenly, the angel of God speaks, "Look, there's a ram!  Don't kill the boy!"  So, what do they talk about at supper that night?  How's a boy to trust after that?  But, he is still the promised one whose offspring will confirm God's covenant.

Let us now look at Ishmael, "Man of my God."  He was born because Sarah gave his mother to Abraham to father offspring since nothing was happening to this so-called promise to her!  He is older than Isaac.  He sees Isaac born as the child of the promise.  He sees the scorn in the eyes of Sarah.  He is sent away from the home for which he was born and nearly dies in the wilderness.

Let us now consider the peoples that these two men have fathered - Jews and Arabs.  Two great races of people with proud heritages.  Let us consider how they have warred for such a time.

Let us finally turn our thoughts to the two demoniacs in the tombs who were so savage that they frightened everyone else away. 

For our purposes here, let us use our active imagination to consider that these two who dwell in the tombs are Isaac and Ishmael.  They are fearsome and frightful, not only to the locals, but to each other.  What harm they do to all around them. 

Today, Jesus comes to the tombs in the land of the Gaderenes and addresses those two men.  What does he say?  What can he say to Isaac and Ishmael today?  What can he say to them to ease their pain and to heal such hurt as has been inflicted on them? 

Who will speak with the voice of Jesus today to our brothers and sisters in Israel, in Palestine, in Iraq, in Iran, in Egypt, and so on?  How can the Church today speak with the healing voice of Jesus to our dear Muslim and Jewish brothers who have such a heritage?

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