Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 15,1-12.17-18

Some time later, the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram! I am your shield and shall give you a very great reward. 'Lord Yahweh,' Abram replied, 'what use are your gifts, as I am going on my way childless? . . . Since you have given me no offspring,' Abram continued, 'a member of my household will be my heir.' Then Yahweh's word came to him in reply, 'Such a one will not be your heir; no, your heir will be the issue of your own body.' Then taking him outside, he said, 'Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. Just so will your descendants be,' he told him. Abram put his faith in Yahweh and this was reckoned to him as uprightness. He then said to him, 'I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to give you this country as your possession.' 'Lord Yahweh,' Abram replied, 'how can I know that I shall possess it?' He said to him, 'Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.' He brought him all these, split the animals down the middle and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not divide. And whenever birds of prey swooped down on the carcases, Abram drove them off. Now, as the sun was on the point of setting, a trance fell on Abram, and a deep dark dread descended on him. When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking firepot and a flaming torch passing between the animals' pieces. That day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram in these terms: 'To your descendants I give this country, from the River of Egypt to the Great River, the River Euphrates,

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Abraham's journey towards the land to fulfill God's promise is not without difficulty. Where are the numerous descendants promised by God, if his only heir is likely to be the son of a slave? Uncertainty and subsequent questions are part of a believer's life. Too often we are frightened by the uncertainty of our time and the lack of clarity of the future. Yet the Lord does not abandon Abraham, as he does not abandon any of us. Indeed God anticipates him: "'Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." The Lord anticipates our questions so that we do not get imprisoned by them. This is how God brings Abraham out of the narrowness of his worries and fears in which he had hidden himself: "Look towards heaven and count the stars ... So shall your descendants be." Only by coming out of the limited sight of ourselves we can see far, to the numerous people whom the Lord has prepared for us. The gaze of God, which we are called to share, that universal gaze, frees us from fear, as opposed to what we often think. It is self-enclosure that gives birth to fears and worries. The Lord takes us out and frees us. There are indeed many descendants that await believers so that the covenant of God may reach all peoples.