Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Given that we are blessed to have Fr. Julien Esse here this weekend to speak to us about the African Mission Society, I thought I would use my letter in the bulletin this week to give a brief reflection upon the Sunday readings in lieu of the regular homily.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.” It’s a somewhat tongue in cheek approach to a reality that we often face throughout our lives. We tend to plan for our lives and have certain expectations for how things will turn out, both in the short-term and the long-term. But let’s face it: what we plan for and what actually happens rarely work out to be exactly the same. And those things that we feel most confident about, sometimes they’re the things that go furthest from our designs.
Our first reading today comes from the Book of Genesis and features Abraham and his wife Sarah playing host to three men, or angels, or Persons of the Trinity, depending on the lens by which we want to look through. Abraham plays the consummate host, unlike the similar story of Martha and Mary we hear about in today’s Gospel. While most homilies might focus on the tension between the overworked Martha and the contemplative Mary, there’s something worth looking at in the first reading that also touch’s upon our relationship with the Lord.
The end of the first reading has the Lord, in the form of the traveler and guest, say about Sarah, that within a year’s time, she will be pregnant. And how does Sarah respond? We don’t hear it in our reading today, but her reaction is to laugh. And with good reason it seems. At this point, Sarah is considered barren, she is past child-rearing age, and just because some random person says something, certainly does not mean that it will be so.
But as Genesis continues, Sarah does indeed conceive and bear a son. Abraham for his part, is promised to become the father of many nations, and the fulfillment of that promise begins in earnest with this child that was born in unexpected and miraculous means.
There’s a bit of kicker to the story and comes in the name bestowed on the child born from this story. We know him as Isaac, who will go on and have his own share in the story of Genesis and God’s desire to bring humanity closer to Himself. But that name Isaac, do you know what it means? God’s Laughter.
And so, in our lives, the unexpected and the unplanned events come to us throughout the years. And while it’s never meant to be mean or spiteful, these moments are often the laughter of God. An opportunity for Him to bring us closer to Himself and to show his love in the world.
Peace and Goodness,