MEMORIAL OF ST. IRENAEUS, BISHOP AND MARTYR

June 28, 2017

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

 

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

 

Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.  And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

 

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

 

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,

 

 

Psalm 105: 1-9

 

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
    make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
    children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.
He is mindful of his covenant forever,
    of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham,
    his sworn promise to Isaac.

 

 

Matthew 7:15-20

 

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.

(NRSVCE)

 

 

Meditation

 

By definition,  "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is one of the hardest parts about believing in and following God. Today we read about the promise God gives to Abram and the covenant He makes with him. It can be difficult to believe in God’s promises sometimes. In Abram’s case, he had to believe that even though he was an old man, God would bless him and give him many descendants and also a great deal of land. These were things that seemed not just unlikely but impossible even. Yet, God demanded that Abram have faith in this promise.

 

As God’s children, He promises us many things. He guarantees a life with Him in paradise if we follow His commands and word faithfully. He promises us freedom from sin and many other great blessings. In our world, though, just like Abram, we can get caught up in only seeing the here and now. It can be hard to see past one’s present circumstances and believe for something better. Like in the first reading, though, God wants us to have unquestioning faith in Him. His plan and provision can be hard to grasp or even impossible to understand. Yet, we know that He has not abandoned us or forgotten us.

 

Today, examine the areas in your life that are yielding good fruit and those yielding bad fruit. Bring those negative areas to the Lord and ask for Him to give you a new promise. Ask Him to transform the areas that seem unlikely or impossible to change into something that yields good fruit. Pray for the faith to believe in God’s promises.

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for carrying out your promise to Abram. Please grant me to the grace to believe for good fruit in all the areas of my life. I bring you the things that are not bearing good fruit and I ask you to change them and give me a new promise to believe in. Amen.

 

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