Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.”
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.
And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.
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
“How do you say God in Spanish?” The students taking Spanish answer Dios.
“Similarly, the Arabic word for God is Allah; so, when we study Islam this year, remember when Muslims refer to Allah, they are talking about the same God as Christians and Jews.” “What?” is followed by misconceptions students have about Islam. U.S. media barrages us with ways “they” are different from “us.”
Thankfully, today’s first reading teaches us that our God is a God of “we.” Sarah fearfully draws a line in her heart between “us” and “them.” God tells Abraham not to stress and promises a great nation to descendants of Ishmael as well. Hagar’s well is where Mecca is born, connecting Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Do we draw lines in our hearts between “us” and “them”? Can we respond as Abraham did with tenderness and openness, following God’s promise of compassion and a “home” in his heart for all?
—Jackie Beale-DelVecchio is a middle school religion teacher at the Sacred Heart Schools, Chicago, IL.
God most high, your servant Junipero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them. By his intercession, and through the example of his evangelical zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. —The Catholic Prayer BookPlease share the Good Word with your friends!