In today’s first reading we are told of one of those “critical” moments in human history. Abram, a good and mature man who had for a long time lived comfortably among his kinfolk, accumulated many possessions, established a large household with wife, nephew, and numerous servants, was asked by God to move his whole family “to a land that I will show you.” God promised that if Abram did this, God would make Abram’s name great, bless him and make of his family a great nation.
Abram did as God asked. And, that is a wonder. After all, Abram was already a highly respected member in his community. He had already achieved great human success. He was comfortable and secure and was, no doubt, looking forward to living out his life in the safe environment he had created. And, of course, he had no children, was past mid-life and his wife, Sarah, was past her child-bearing years. Yet, he set forth at God’s promise, not knowing where he was going or how long the trip would take…or how it would be possible for him and Sarah to have a child. And that was just the beginning of the adventure. No wonder Abraham is called our “father in faith!”
I’m not 75 yet as Abram was, but I am well past 65! I can’t help but wonder whether I would have the courage to respond to such a call from God. Could I let go of my comfortable and familiar world to respond to God’s call?
Yet, isn’t it true that each of us, no matter what our age, is invited by God to travel to a place far different from where we are? In today’s Gospel, Christ tells us not to judge others so harshly. In the Gospels over the past week we’ve been called to go the extra mile, to offer the other cheek, to hand over our cloak as well when asked for our tunic, to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. Clearly, Jesus is constantly inviting us into a place far away from our usual world. Yet, so often we are afraid to leave our familiar attitudes and travel to the land Jesus shows us.
Abram risked all and won all. God was faithful to him and fulfilled His every promise. God will do the same for us. Let’s pray for the courage to follow Jesus wherever He leads us.
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director the Development Office for Holy Cross Province and is stationed at Immaculate Conception Community in Chicago.