Homilette for Friday, July 10, 2009

Please excuse the recent error and delays of publication. I have been away from my regular habitat with less access to the Internet.

Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Genesis 46:1-7.28-20; Matthew 10:16-23)

A Mexican child will answer the call of his mother or father by saying, “Mande,” meaning “send (me).” The implicit idea conveyed by this word is that the child is willing to do whatever the parent commands. We find this same willingness in the first reading when Israel responds to the call of the Lord with, “Here I am.” It is the response of Samuel to Eli, “Here I am. I come to do your will” and of the Virgin Mary to the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your will.” Israel’s response is remarkable, however, because he was not always so compliant. As a young man, he duped his brother and his father trusting in his craftiness rather than in the Lord to get ahead. God, however, taught him, through a slow but sure process, how to trust in Him.

Willingness to conform to God’s will is one requirement of fathering a great nation. Another, more obvious need is to assure the welfare of one’s family. Israel shows that he has looked after this concern when he hugs his son Joseph and confesses that he can now die in peace. He has been faithful to the tradition of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham although he followed them in his unique way.

Jesus shows these two traits of nation-building in an eminent way. He follows his Father’s will to the end, and he sends his Spirit, as indicated in today’s gospel, to protect his disciples. We might add that given the nature of his relationship with God, the Father, there is something very unique about Jesus’ preparation of the holy nation that bears his name.