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When There's No Walmart, God Supplies

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Scriptural Readings: Genesis 21:5, 8-20a; Psalms 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13;

Matthew 8:28-34

My dear encountered couples:

There are many things in the Bible that are very difficult for us to understand, especially in the Old Testament. Abraham’s treatment of the servant Hagar and her son, Ishmael, who was also Abraham’s son, presents us with one of those difficulties. His wife, Sarah, put him up to it out of jealousy and pride, but from where we look, that is still no excuse. Our story seems to get Abraham off the hook by telling us that God gave him permission to send Hagar and Ishmael off into the desert.

By our standards this was a very unjust and irresponsible act on the part of Abraham. I wonder if any of us ever does anything unjust and irresponsible. We are probably a lot more aware of unjust treatment we ourselves receive from the hands of others.

If you ever are treated unjustly, remember this story. Despite being sent out into the hot and dry desert where there were no Seven Elevens with food and drink, God took care of Hagar and her son. In fact, Ishmael grew up and we find in other parts of Genesis (Ch. 16 & 25) that he had many descendants.

When Hagar was out of water and she was waiting for the boy to die, he began to cry. A voice from heaven spoke up, “What is the matter, Hagar? Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his.” And then she saw a well of water. The name of the boy, Ishmael, in Hebrew means “God has heard.” He always hears you too when you cry out to him. Please believe that, and feel safe in his arms.


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