April 2, 2020 – Thursday 5th Week of Lent
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040220.cfm)
In the Book of Genesis, we have heard about the TRANSFORMATION of Abram to Abraham. This transformation of name is not just merely by name but it has a deeper transformation in the very person of Abraham. Let us remember the story of Abram who was from the land of Ur. He was called by God to journey to a land God promised to him.
Abram had to leave behind many things which include comfort of his home, familiarity of the place, affection from his family and friends. Yet, Abram trusted God despite the much insecurity he felt. He took the risk despite the uncertainties ahead.
His relationship with God earned him a transformation of his person, thus, he became Father of many nations because of his faith. What is more comforting is also God’s promise to Abraham. God said, “As long as your descendants keep the covenant, I will be their God and they shall be my people.”
This is an assurance of God’s faithfulness in us, a promise that God will and shall never abandon us. This is a relationship that does not float in abstract form or a mere product of a “theological treatise” of the past – but this is something that we experience in concrete terms as people.
This is manifested and fully revealed to us through the historical person of Jesus. In the Gospel of John, Jesus provocatively proclaimed that he is “I AM.” What does it mean? “I AM” is YHWH’s sacred name which also means “I am always there for you.”
This is provocative and sounds insulting to the Jews because they could not accept that God is truly with us in flesh. For them, God should only remain in the heavens where nobody can go and no one can touch. God for them is very far, remote and distant from His people.
What are the invitations for us then?
First, like Abraham, God also calls us to take the risk, to trust God despite our uncertainties, insecurities and questions. God sends us to a situation we do not expect or even to places and events we avoid. Do not resist and let God’s desire be your desire too. Resistance will only bring us hardship and more difficulties because we will become a closed person, uncompromising and inflexible. Like Abraham we may learn to trust God and be confident in Him. Moreover, be comforted also at the words of God, “I am your God and you are my people. I AM will always be there for you.”
We may surely encounter many discomforts, moments of confusions and times of difficulties. Yet, never retreat from others and from yourself, but rather, be daring like Abraham, always trusting in God. Certainly, in the process of our journey, God will transform us into persons we do not imagine before.
Second, God is truly with us here at the present moment (in the here-and-now). Be confident today because Jesus is “I AM”, he who is there for you and me always. Thus, be conscious always of the present because this present moment is God’s present – gift to us.
Remember, it is when we become aware of our present that we also discover God’s many surprises for us. Allow your present (both as time and as gift) be unfolded for you to discover God’s presence. May it become also the factor for you to recognize, be reconciled and affirm your past and to hope joyfully for what is to come tomorrow. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR