Never Underestimate God!

June 30, 2017 – Friday of the Twelfth Week of the Year

The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the Book of Genesis (17:1, 9-10, 15-22)

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him
and said: “I am God the Almighty.
Walk in my presence and be blameless.”

God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.
This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you
that you must keep:
every male among you shall be circumcised.”

God further said to Abraham:
“As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai;
her name shall be Sarah.
I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her.
Him also will I bless; he shall give rise to nations,
and rulers of peoples shall issue from him.”

Abraham prostrated himself and laughed as he said to himself,
“Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?
Or can Sarah give birth at ninety?”

Then Abraham said to God,
“Let but Ishmael live on by your favor!”
God replied: “Nevertheless, your wife Sarah is to bear you a son,
and you shall call him Isaac.
I will maintain my covenant with him as an everlasting pact,
to be his God and the God of his descendants after him.

As for Ishmael, I am heeding you: I hereby bless him.
I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly.
He shall become the father of twelve chieftains,
and I will make of him a great nation.
But my covenant I will maintain with Isaac,
whom Sarah shall bear to you by this time next year.”
When he had finished speaking with him, God departed from Abraham.

Reflect: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said: “I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.” So instead of just coasting into the end of his life, God gives Abram a new name “Abraham”, calls him into a new relationship with him and promises that he will be the father of countless descendants – at nearly 100 years old!  At one point Abraham laughs at the absurdity of what God is promising him. But God is faithful. Not only do Abraham and Sarah become parents in their old age to Isaac, but Abraham becomes the father of faith. We are descendants of that promise God made to Abraham. God is capable of anything.  Grace is abundant. We on our part are called to trust, to believe and to never underestimate how God may use us and make himself known in our lives. May God send out his Spirit upon us to open our hearts and minds so that we might cooperate with his grace and become incredible instruments of his presence in the world.

Questions: Do I believe that God wants to do a great work in me?  Do I limit God by thinking that there is very little he can do with me and in my life? What is holding me back from letting myself go into the hands of God so that my heart and mind might cooperate with his awesome love and grace?

Pray: Loving God, you are an awesome God. Send out your Holy Spirit so that my heart and mind can be refreshed and renewed with your grace. Give me the gift of faith to trust and believe that you are limitless in what you can do with and in my life. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

The Holy Roman Martyrs: Pray for us!

Within twenty years after the death of Christ, the Gospel reached the center of the Roman Empire. The Emperor Nero accused the Christians of a massive fire that destroyed much of Rome. As a result, many Christians were tortured, crucified and burned alive upon the order of the Emperor and for his entertainment.                                       

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