Gn 16:1-12,15,16; Ps 106:1-5; Mt 7:21-29
We gather here to do what the Psalmist proclaims. We gather at every Eucharist to “rejoice in the joy of your people, and glory with your inheritance.” We are those who belong to God’s people, and we are the inheritance of the Lord. As Saint Irenaeus teaches, “Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God.” To live life abundantly means that we reveal the glory of God because we see the face of the Lord. Without such a faith filled vision we do not live abundantly. At the time of Abram, descendants were the guarantee of continued remembrance and abundant life. Therefore, Sarai gave her servant, Hagar, to Abram because she had not given her husband any offspring. The descendant of Abram, our father in faith, is the Lord Jesus. In today’s Gospel our Divine Teacher finishes his Sermon on the Mount. His teaching is still received with awe and wonder by the wise disciple who seeks the abundance of life through Christ who is the way, the truth and the life.
It is the wisdom of the world in which Sarai lives that motivates her offering Hagar to her husband. This act of common sense results in the foolishness of Hagar’s distain for Sarai. As Hagar reasons, it must be Sarai’s fault that Abram has not yet been given a son. Such condemnation results in conflict between these two women. When this fighting is too severe Hagar runs away. The angel of the Lord commands her to return and bear her son for Abram’s sake. Hagar is commanded to put up with Sarai’s abuse for the sake of her son, Ishmael. God’s answer to Hagar’s prayer is not easy. Yet, her obedience to the Lord bears the promise of descendants so numerous that they cannot be counted. Such is the power of faith filled obedience; it bears unexpected fruit. This story of worldly wisdom bears more than children. It invites us to trust in God’s providence even in the midst of our suffering abuse and rejection. This divine wisdom is repeated at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount when Our Lord teaches us to find the blessing in persecution and suffering for the sake of the Kingdom.
Entrance into the Kingdom of heaven is not based merely on a profession of faith. Calling Jesus “Lord, Lord” without living out his teaching does not bear fruit, a fruit that will last. However if we are truly wise, we will build our whole life on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Then, when the rain falls and the floods come and the wind blows, our lives will be secure, solidly built on rock. We need not fear the future. We will bear the fruit of faith. The stormy conflicts that buffet and batter our house will not utterly ruin us. This is truly good news in the mist of a world threatened by age-old conflicts among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. When all people of faith live out the wisdom of God then will we bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit: peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then and only then, will the face of God be seen and the glory of God be revealed. Here and now, at this banquet that Wisdom incarnate has provided, we receive the Bread of Life so that we can live an abundant life.