Wednesday, July 5, 2017

It is interesting how we each react in a different way to God’s presence in our life. Sometimes we have mountaintop moments that encourage and lift us to new heights. (Click the link to read more)

July 5, 2017

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 379

GN 21:5, 8-20A

PS 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13

MT 8:28-34


Luigi Alois Gillarduzzi Hagar und Ismael in der Wüste 1851
It is interesting how we each react in a different way to God’s presence in our life.  Sometimes we have mountaintop moments that encourage and lift us to new heights.   Others have experiences that frighten them or leave them feeling ashamed and fearful.  The one thing that can be said is that no matter what happens when one encounters God they will never be the same again.   Jesus, the incarnation of God, demands that of us by his very presence.  We must either choose to follow Him or reject Him.  As He points out in the Apocryphal book of Revelation, being lukewarm is not an option.  Either we are hot or cold.  

Abraham encounters God at a moment that to our modern sensibilities seems cold and aloof.  His wife has now had a child of her own and demands that Abraham's slave and son must be sent off.   In the time period when this happened and the culture that they were a part of, this was not an unusual request.  Abraham could have simply expelled them and left them to die.  The world around them was full of those who sacrificed their children to Gods or abandoned the weak and only cared for the strong.   Instead, we are reminded of the promise of Abraham, wherein God has promised to bless the entirety of the world.   Through Ishmael, some of those blessings will pour out as well, but Isaac is the child of the covenant, the promise.  One scholar says that this ‘mellowed’ Abraham.  I think that is a lackluster description of what it must have done for a father to push away his first born son.

Whereas Abraham was faithful to God and trusted, the Gadarenes rejected the divinity among them.   Instead of seeing Jesus as a deliverer who had saved one of their own from demonic possession and a healer, they see Him as a threat to their local economy and way of life.  When given a chance for conversion of their own they reject the one who can bring them true joy and happiness and beg Him to leave.  We often forget that simple truth: an encounter with God does not always lead to faith.  When we offer the Gospel to others, reasonably and rationally, and they reject it…. Often it makes no sense to us who have faith that they would do so.   How can their hearts be hardened to such a beautiful and joy filled truth?  It is because it challenges.  The Gospel doesn’t leave us where we are, it challenges us to change and go forth and sin no more.   It’s not enough to just say we believe, like Abraham we set out on a journey and do the actions demanded of us from God, trusting that even when we don’t understand, He will provide the Sacrifice necessary for any of our actions to have value.  On their own, they are nothing. United to Christ they are made complete.


His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14