Chapter Closed

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 5, 2019

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, our passage from Genesis concludes the story of Abraham.

Like any good drama, the passage ties the plot with a final ribbon, but leaves a little thread to suggest an ensuing story.

Gen24_7 promise

Sarah dies and Abraham negotiates a deal to bury her in the “promised”, but as yet unowned, land. So, in essence, Sarah’s grave is the first parcel of this Promised Land.

Soon after, Abraham prepares for his own death by assuring the future of Isaac, both to remain in the Promised Land, and to have a wife from his own people. To secure these things, Abraham commissions his faithful, unnamed, senior servant who travels back to Assyria and finds Rachel. She becomes Isaac’s wife, the mother of the next generation of The Promise.

The two main themes for us to pray with are these:
the land and
the promise secured for the future

Certainly these themes might lead us to consider what promise we cherish, and where we have set the stakes of our “residence”. In other words, where do our heart and soul live in this world?

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance. (Psalm 15:5-6)

But I also cannot pray these verses without thinking of the many immigrants and refugees who have left their homes on the hope and promise of a more secure life.

So many languish in a place of unfulfillment and outright suffering. So many see their posterity taken from them by death or human cruelty. As we think of them today, where does our prayer lead us in compassion and Christian love?

(P.S. Look for a second post today of an old favorite, for those who may never have seen it, or those who might like to read it again. Thanks!)

Music:  When We Go Home, We Go Together – Pure Heart Ensemble

On This Father’s Day

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061718.cfm

2 Cor 5_7 faith

Today, in Mercy, our Sunday readings are filled with the hope of new life, spoken out of the abyss of suffering.

Both Ezekiel’s and Paul’s communities were suffering under exile or persecution. In both cases, a powerful state has dehumanized and enslaved them – rendering them as “other”, unworthy of fraternal compassion.

These suffering communities hunger for the encouragement of their prophets, Ezekiel and Paul.

They long for Ezekiel’s majestic cedar, born from a single, hopeful branch – a life-giving tree where all can dwell in fullness and joy. It is a precursor of heaven, where they will be free and restored to honor.

They draw hope from Paul’s example of courage, believing with him that there is a new day coming where they will be known as precious and worthy in God’s sight.

What might these readings suggest to us, as we celebrate Father’s Day today?

As we contemplate the gift of fatherhood from the perspective of our own experience, let us be mindful of fathers and families experiencing exile and persecution similar to Ezekiel’s and Paul’s communities.

migrant fathers

The Bible tells us stories of our ancestors in faith, but it is also a living Word – speaking to our current experiences. Just this week, we have heard some in power positions use the Bible to justify the infliction of pain and hardship on other human beings. God must weep at such sinful arrogance!

Let us, instead, be inspired by these Scriptures to open our hearts in mercy. Let us pray for suffering migrant communities throughout the world, forced from their homes by war, crime, and greed. Let us pray for children torn from their families by blind, inhumane policies. 

Today, let us pray especially for these refugee fathers as their hopes are crushed and their families broken. And, where we can, let us do more than pray. Let us act for justice and mercy. Let us, at the very least, not rally behind a power that subverts the preciousness of human life and family.

Music: One Day When We All Get To Heaven written by Eliza Hewitt (1851-1920).