June 27, 2019 – Thursday 12th Week in OT
GN 16:1-12, 15-16Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children.
She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.
Sarai said to Abram: “The LORD has kept me from bearing children.
Have intercourse, then, with my maid; perhaps I shall have sons through her.”
Abram heeded Sarai’s request.
Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine.
He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant.
When she became aware of her pregnancy, she looked on her mistress with disdain.
So Sarai said to Abram: “You are responsible for this outrage against me.
I myself gave my maid to your embrace; but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy, she has been looking on me with disdain.
May the LORD decide between you and me!” Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count. Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:
“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you.
This one shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; In opposition to all his kin shall he encamp.”
Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.The Word of the Lord.
MT 7:21-29Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.The Gospel of the Lord.
Have you been treated badly by others because of your failures? Or have you been unkind to others because of your frustrations? There would be times that we become resentful and unkind to people around us especially when we experience frustrations and failures in life. As a way of expressing our frustrations, we extend such negative feelings towards people under us. We will tend to be cranky and strict, unkind and ungenerous with others because we are basically angry with ourselves.
This was what happened to Hagar and her son, Ishmael, who became the object of frustrations of Sarai and complacency and irresponsibility of Abram. Hagar was in big trouble, not of her own doing but of her masters. It was because of Sarai’s insecurity that Hagar and Ishmael suffered such unkind treatment. Sarai grew old and childless. She was supposed to produce children for Abram yet, it seemed that she could not.
Abram was promised by God to have children as many as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the shore. Yet, not one child was given. Thus, Sarai felt pressured by their local custom to allow a maid-servant to become the bearer of Abram’s children.
Indeed, it was out of her insecurity and frustration that she offered Hagar to Abram. However, later on, when Hagar became pregnant, Sarai became more resentful and despised Hagar. Sarai treated Hagar badly as an expression of Sarai’s frustration of herself and of her failures.
This will surely happen to us when we are not founded solidly. Jesus speaks of having a good foundation like building a house on rock rather than on sand. What does it mean? Building a house on rock means making myself founded on Jesus. Jesus is the rock, the very foundation of our person and of our faith. Jesus will also be our foundation once we are also ready to accept him and allow him to transform our life.
How do we do it? It is by listening to his words and holding on to his promises that we become solid. By listening to God’s words and wisdom then, the more we also become aware of God’s desire for us. This will always assure us because God’s desire for us is always good and will always give life to us.
However, if we decide to build our life on mere human understanding, mere human desires and wants, then, we are like building our house on sand. To settle on these weak foundations, means putting trust on our human inclinations to sin. We know that we are weak and we can easily be driven by our selfish desires and wants.
This was what led Sarai and even Abram to be so selfish. They trusted their impulses to decide things, which had long-term consequences. They never even made God as part of that decision. Sarai made the decision out of frustration and insecurity while Abram also went with that decision in mere complacency and even without taking responsibility over Hagar and Ishmael.
The Lord invites us today to claim Him as the foundation of our whole life. This means that Jesus wants us to make him part of our every decision and action. And surely, we are assured that as the storms of failures, losses, death, illness, pain, injury, worries and doubts in life will come, then, we have Jesus to hold on and to lean on. If we have Jesus in our life, we will surely be fine. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR