Mass Reading & Meditation for June 28, 2013
Meditation: Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22
Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
As for Ishmael, I am heeding you. (Genesis 17:20)
Imagine a military general designing a new offensive strategy for his troops. But before he goes public, he briefs one of his enlisted soldiers on the details. What if the soldier had the moxie to propose a change in his plans—and the general followed his advice? That might seem exceptionally democratic, wouldn’t it? Now imagine a similar thing happening between God and one of us. It would seem almost absurd!
But this is the scenario that plays out in today’s first reading. God had promised to bless Sarah’s offspring, but Abraham just couldn’t see how it was going to happen. For years they tried to conceive a child, but to no avail. So he made a counterproposal: Bless Ishmael instead. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Instead of vetoing Abraham’s proposal, God actually considers it and alters his plan. He sticks to his original promise, but he also honors Abraham’s request and promises blessings on Ishmael.
This story shows us something surprising about prayer. When we pray, our will meets God’s will, and a mysterious exchange occurs. In this exchange, his thoughts can become ours—and our thoughts can actually become his. So prayer can be a time when we discuss with God his own plan for our lives. Because he wants a partnership and not a dictatorship, our prayerful ideas and requests have a real effect. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? God is not only willing to cooperate with you in prayer, he actually enjoys the process!
God knows that as our partnership with him deepens, our plans will agree more with his, because our hearts will agree. So don’t be afraid to be bold when you pray. Perhaps there’s something you’re struggling to understand, and you want to ask for clarity. Or maybe you want to make a special request of the Lord. As long as you remain humble, as Abraham was, he will hear you. He may not answer you in the way that you want—at least not right away. But he will help mold your heart more so that you can think as he does. Either way, don’t worry. Your Father has great things in store for you—even if you feel as old as Abraham!
“Lord, I am in awe that you have chosen me as your partner in building your kingdom.”
Psalm 128:1-5; Matthew 8:1-4