Thought for the week

Once upon a Time

Once upon a time – four thousand years ago or so, Abraham prayed to God for guidance; his prayer was answered. ‘Go to the Land of Canaan,’ said God, ‘you and Sarah, your wife, and I will give descendants as many as the stars in heaven.’ If Abraham had a sense of humour, he must have laughed in God’s face. Descendants, offspring at eighty! The Land of Canaan, the most fertile land in all of Israel – it still is.

   There was a price tag! Abraham and his descendants were to be a model, an exemplum for all the nations; in other words, they would embody the nature of a loving God. They would be God’s ambassadors.

   Now read on ….

   No sooner had they arrived in the land flowing with milk and honey than they forgot about God – a case of eaten bread soon forgotten.

They became tribal and later, they would plunder and pillage. ‘No different from the way the Israelis conquered parts of Palestine – West Bank and Gaza.’ So said a man one day testing my knowledge of the Bible.

   I was able to point out to him that the Israelites had among them, exceptional people – fearless individuals, prophets who opposed Kings,  Princes and potentates, who reminded them how they had lost the plot – they were to be a model of good living. They failed.

   One of those prophets was Jeremiah of today’s First Reading. We don’t seem to have many Jeremiahs today: those who risk their lives for the sake of truth. They are those who take the road less travelled.

Fr William