Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

…I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;

In today’s gospel Jesus’ critics complain, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Even a schoolchild should be able to explain to them that to attend the liturgy – be it Jewish worship or Catholic Mass – is to stand side-by-side with every creature who ever has, now does and ever will worship God. We are consecrated companions -- saints among the saints – and more than casually acquainted with one another.

We heard the Lord this morning promise Abraham, “I will render you exceedingly fertile.” I hear an echo of God’s command to Adam and Eve, “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.” Sarah and Abraham’s children are everywhere; they fill the earth.
The tapestries in the Los Angeles Cathedral portray a host of recognizable saints from ancient times to the present with their hands folded in prayer. This cloud of witnesses appears rapt in attendance of the Mass, relaxed and happy. There are no strangers among them. Because the models for these images were citizens of multi-racial, polyglot Los Angeles, they look like any American’s neighbors. It is not hard to imagine oneself among those saints and, indeed, the tapestries on either wall of the cathedral nave convey that hospitable assurance. You belong here, and among us!  

If we know God we cannot help but invite others – most especially our children – to share our joy. This happiness is contagious; it is fertile and fecund, fructiferous and fruitful, prolific, proliferant and pregnant. It just gets carried away!

Jesus bluntly tells his opponents, “You do not know him, but I know him.” Their love of God, whatever may be said for it, is not contagious; their knowledge of God is sterile. They “forgot as up they grew” and their “children [too] are apt to forget to remember” as up they grow.

During this season of Lent we hear the word of God to Abraham again:

On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.

We pray that God will renew in us his willing, grateful, confident, gracious, joyful spirit that has no need to hoard goods or withhold generosity, knowing as we do that The Lord remembers his covenant forever.”

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.