Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 12:1-9; Matthew 7:1-5)
In order to appreciate God’s call of Abram from Genesis today, one has to note the context. Babel has just fallen and with the illusion that humans left to their own devices can do much good. Although God has scattered the peoples all over the earth, He intends to bring them together in peace. His plan is to establish a new nation with Abram as its founder to be an exemplar of loving obedience. This nation’s virtue will draw all peoples to it.
Abram is an unlikely candidate to engender a new nation. Although his name means exalted father, he is, in fact, childless at seventy-five years of age! He is also homeless and nation-less. He does have a wife, the beautiful Sarai, whom he loves – a fact that does offer him some recommendation. He also has ambition as he responds to the unlikely call to greatness.
God directs Abram to leave his father’s house for a new land. There God will give him the first lessons in nation-building. Abram will thus become the greatest of the biblical patriarchs, but not the kind which feminists love to hate. God will teach Abram to be conscious and fair, not arbitrary and self-promoting. He will lead Abram to a consistent respect and tender care for women, not to hardness and domination. He will cherish his children, and not neglect them. These are lessons for all men to note as we listen to the story of Abram unfold.