Genesis 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67
Psalm 106:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
One day, when I was ten, I was on a mountain in Wicklow with my father, when fog came in from the Irish Sea, wet, cold, and pea-soupy. I couldn’t see a thing, including my father, and I remember being scared, until my father’s voice came out of the fog: “Michael, follow me.” I followed the voice, all the way down the mountain to a warm meal and a welcome bed. That intensely personal memory illuminates for me today’s texts, which speak to me of memory, commitment, and faithfulness.
“Follow me,” Jesus invites Matthew, as he had already invited
Peter and Andrew. I do not believe for a moment that invitation was
only for Peter and Andrew and Matthew. It was also for me, for you,
and for every Christian. I first responded to the invitation, via
a sponsor, on another cold day in January, 1933. “Michael,” Monsignor
O’Reilly asked me, “do you believe in God?” “I do,” Aunt Mary replied
on my behalf. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ his only son, our Lord?”
“I do,” Aunt Mary replied again. My memory of that baptismal day
is as foggy as my vision on the mountainside, but remember it I must, and
validate it, for it was on that day I was anointed for Christ and committed
to follow him by patterning my life after his.
I could be tempted to believe it is just coincidence that we
read these texts about memory, commitment, and fidelity today, the
Fourth of July, when Americans remember and recommit to the notion of one
nation under God where all, powerful and powerless, rich and poor, men and
women, are said to be created equal. I could be tempted to believe
it just coincidence...if I did not already believe that the God who invites
us to follow cares way too much about us to leave anything to coincidence.
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