First Reading: Gn 21:5. 8-20; Psalm: 34. R. v. 7a; Gospel: Mt 8:28-34
HUMAN WEAKNESS AND GOD’S STEADFAST LOVE
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Hagar was an Egyptian slave who served as a maid to Abraham’s wife Sarah. When Sarah couldn’t conceive, she gave Hagar to Abraham to bear him a child. When Hagar conceived a child, her meekness turned to arrogance to the contempt of Sarah. (Gn 16:4). Fourteen years later, Sarah conceived and gave birth to Isaac. After the weaning of Isaac, Sarah saw the son of Hagar playing with her son Isaac and felt threatened that Ishmael the son of a slave woman could drag her husband’s inheritance with her son Isaac. She then asked Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. And Abraham did but not without some compassion and love.
This story may sound very harsh. Why would Sarah act this way? Could there be more to Sarah’s fear regarding the threat that Ishmael posed to Isaac’s inheritance? Or was Sarah trying to get even with Hagar for her contemptuous attitude towards her while she was childless? Perhaps it’s better to reserve these questions for Sarah’s attorney. We should even feel more disturbed that God had to convince Abraham do Sarah’s bidding. Apparently, God had another plan for Hagar and Ishmael and wanted to save the home of Abraham from discord and bitterness. Abraham, a good man that he was, provided bread and water for Hagar and Ishmael before sending them away.
This whole episode explains why sometimes certain unkind attitudes are meted out to us. This is not a defence for harsh treatments but facing the reality of human inadequacies. In one way or the other, people will be unkind to us or try to throw their weight around to our own detriment. But God will not desert us in our moments of pain just as he came to the aid of Hagar and her son and promised them a great descendant. The cry of the innocent reaches the ears of God. Maybe we are presently in a situation similar to Hagar’s. Just hang in there and call on God in faith and trust. Who knows, the Lord might close that chapter of your life today.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord God, do not desert us when we call upon you in our moments of sorrow. Amen.