Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 17: 1, 9-10, 15-22, Matthew 8: 1-4
In today’s first reading, we heard an account of God making a promise to Abram (Exalted Father) and then changing his name to Abraham (Father of a Multitude) in accord with that promise. Upon hearing the promise, Abram falls to the ground in adoration and laughs. Yes, Abram is faithful to God and believes that God is faithful, but when he looks at his body, he can only shake his head and laugh. Beyond Abram’s imaginings, God’s promise was to embrace the whole world. The promise would be fulfilled in Christ and His Body, the Church. When we learn the name of the promised offspring of Abraham and Sarah, we discover that even God has a sense of humor. The child was to be called Isaac (One who Laughs). With God’s grace, we are never too old to start again, with a smile.
The prophet Isaiah records these incredible words of God: “But you, Israel, are my servant. You people of Jacob are my chosen ones. You are the offspring of Abraham my dear friend” (Is. 41:8). It was as a friend that Abram could laugh in God’s presence. This friendship afforded Abram candid openness and humble submission. In the Gospel of, we read these words of Jesus: “I call you friends; since I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn. 15:15). God is candid and open with his friends and invites good-humored cooperation on our part. The way God involves people in his plan to redeem the human race does not always make sense to the one chosen. It is interesting how God sets to make something new and vibrant out of something old and withered.
The dominant characteristic of Abraham’s life is faith. Faith is the starting point for all who are descendants of Abraham. The call of Abraham marked the revelation of God’s plan to befriend all people. As did Abraham we must stand before God candidly and humbly. Faith enables us to hear God’s invitation and respond to it. “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you” (Jn. 15:16). Then, like Abraham, we need to act on our faith. Faith doesn’t soar; it plods. Faith is about identifying the place where God has called us to go and set our course for it. Faith requires us to put one foot ahead of the other until we reach our goal. Faith is walking the walk. Because he trusted God and obeyed him, Abraham became known as the friend of God. Like him, even if at first, we laugh, we are called to trust and obey as friends in the friend.