Daily Reflection for Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Genesis 21: 5, 8-20a
Responsorial: Psalm 34: 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Gospel: Matthew 8: 28-34
Our reflection on Wednesday’s readings:
Sarah noticed the son [Ishmael] whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac…. God heard the boy’s voice, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not fear; God has heard the boy’s voice in this plight of his. Get up, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.”
Genesis 21: 9, 17-18.
The reading from Genesis is a bit unsettling for me, a Christian. It is also interesting and enlightening. Abraham was the father to Ishmael and the father to Isaac. Abraham is also the “father” to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Ishmael is believed to be an ancestor of the prophet Muhammed just as Isaac is believed to be an ancestor of Jesus.
Abraham was told that great nations would come from both Ishmael and Isaac. I am not a Biblical scholar, theologian, priest, imam, historian, or political scientist. But the promise from God to Abraham has indeed come true. As of 2015, this planet claimed 2.3 billion Christians, .01 billion Jews, and 1.8 billion Muslims. By far, Christianity and Islam are the most populous religions in the world.*
But so often the news is filled with example of religious conflicts and killing in the name of God. Atheist people I know credibly raise questions about the multitude of problems today and throughout much of known history that have been based on “religion.” God is bigger than any religion.
According to our Scriptures, as early as Genesis 4, God says in verse 10: “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” I have to think that the blood of our sisters and brothers is still crying out to God when a Muslim kills a Jew, or a Christian kills a Muslim, or a Jew kills a Muslim. And on and on. The blood is flowing, and God is asking “What have you done?”
Like the two people possessed by demons in today’s Gospel, who ask, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?” we need to ask, “Jesus, what do you have to do with us?” I need to ask, “Jesus, what do you have to do with me?” I can count myself among the 2.3 billion Christians, but that does not make me a true follower of Jesus. I am reminded of the adage, “Sitting in church doesn’t make me a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes me a mechanic.”
Jesus, you have told me repeatedly what you want from me. Help me to love.
Peace and blessings,