August 11, 2013 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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You are about to start something new. Something new is about to begin for you. In some ways, you might have some idea of what it will be about, or what it will be like. In other ways, you have no idea, and cannot predict it. Maybe it has to do with starting a new school year. This may mean a new school for you, new teachers, or new friends. Both exciting, and terrifying. Maybe you are starting a new friendship, or being a part of a new group. Maybe you are starting a new kind of relationship with dating, or relating differently with guys or girls than you used to. Maybe things are changing between you and your mom or dad. Maybe something new is beginning with your relationship with God. Maybe you are starting to feel it, something you can’t quite explain, not so much hearing something, but feeling that something is calling your name. God is calling. Come, follow Me. Whatever it is, it is something different from when you were a kid; and that is part of it. You are not a kid anymore. Well, maybe part of you is still a kid at heart. But you can also feel that there is something more now that wasn’t there before. It is fascinating, and confusing. Whatever it is, it might make you feel nervous or anxious or scared – to step out of what is familiar, and into the unknown.
That is what I love about Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. Even though they were older than OLD, I think they give hope to teenagers. God called them to leave their homeland and to go out to a new land. They did not know where they were going. They did not know the way to get there. They knew that they would be strangers there, vulnerable, not sure what each day might bring. Doesn’t this sound like being a teenager? And they knew that God was with them, by their side, and that God is trustworthy. If they were to have any confidence, any courage, it was not in their own power, but in God’s faithfulness. All that they thought that they knew and understood; now they would have to trust God. Abraham and Sarah would also be tested on their journeys. But what they teach us is that even when things didn’t make sense: trust in God. Do not be afraid. Let God lead you. Let God be your help and your strength.
Abraham and Sarah have us be ready to step out into the unknown. Jesus has us be ready for when the unknown comes to us. How will you react in that moment? You only have a moment to decide and to act. It will happen somewhat awkwardly, but also somewhat instinctively. Are you ready for that moment? It is the moment that Christ will visit you. It may be the moment you are given an opportunity to share something with someone, to give something away to someone who needs it – the moment to be generous. It may be when someone needs your time and attention and friendship – the moment to be hospitable. It may be when you realize things are bigger than you can handle on your own – the moment to let God give what you need. It may be when bad thoughts or temptations come and are trying to get in your head and in your heart – the moment to be vigilant. It may be when God comes to you and calls to you – the moment to respond. It may be when there needs to be someone to do something – the moment to be dependable. Abraham and Sarah and Jesus remind us to look for what really matters, what is really important, to set our hearts on real treasure. This is the time to let go of trinkets. There is a homeland beyond this place and time in your life. There is a treasure greater than what a thief could steal. There is more to life. Seek this. Set your heart on it. Live by it. You are meant for something big.

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