After Lot had left, the Lord said to Abram:
“Look about you, and from where you are,
gaze to the north and south, east and west;
all the land that you see I will give to you
and your descendants forever.
I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth;
if anyone could count the dust of the earth,
your descendants too might be counted.
Set forth and walk about in the land,
through its length and breadth, for to you I will give it.”
Abram moved his tents and went on to settle
near the terebinth of Mamre, which is at Hebron.
There he built an altar to the Lord.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
When I was in theology studies, our Old Testament professor told us that in the book of Genesis, there were two promises that God makes to Abram/Abraham over and over. They were land and descendants. We have one instance of those promises in the last section of today’s first reading. That may be nice, but is there a way that God makes those promises to us as well?
If we reflect on God’s promise of land, we begin to realize that there is more involved than just a piece of property. What is at stake here is a sense of home. We can have that sense even if we are on the move, and not just because certain motel chains tell us that we will have a home away from home if we stay with them. Jesus has called us to be part of his body, a part of his community. As long as we have that relationship, we can rest assured that we belong, we are at home, we have “land.”
In a similar way, descendants can be understood as a reality beyond having a lot of children and grandchildren. Disciples of Christ are called to be generative. They promote, nourish, protect, and enhance life in many different ways. Intentionally and unintentionally they touch other people’s lives, helping them experience the presence and action of Christ’s Spirit.
God invites Abram to “set forth and walk about in the land, through its length and breadth.” We are invited to take a similar walk, not rushing along and zooming past things, but taking our time to notice, appreciate, be grateful, and share.
How is God keeping the promises of land and descendants in my life?
—Fr. Joe Folzenlogen, S.J. is vice-superior of the Faber Jesuit Community in Cincinnati and director of Claver Jesuit Ministry.
God, you are always faithful. You not only make promises; you keep them. Help us to pay more attention to the fulfilled promises all around us. Help us notice them with grateful praise. And help us share them with others.
We ask this in your name. Amen.
—Fr. Joe Folzenlogen, S.J. is vice-superior of the Faber Jesuit Community in Cincinnati and director of Claver Jesuit Ministry.Please share the Good Word with your friends!