Below find a post on the opening words of today’s first reading that I shared last Lent; I believe it is worth repeating. But I would like to make a few comments on the last line of the reading before I do that.
God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.” (v. 9)
The Lord here makes clear the importance of teaching our children well the ways of God. Some parents think it good, even virtuous, to allow their kids to “make their own decisions” about religion without guidance. We instruct our youngsters on all sorts of things: look both ways before crossing the street, say “thank you,” don’t touch the hot stove, play nicely, and on and on. Yet we would roll the dice on the disposition of their eternal souls? It is a grave obligation for parents in the “domestic church” (Lumen Gentium 11) to share the reason for their hope (see 1 Pt 3:15) through word and example and also to provide for good religious instruction outside the home (of course, going to Mass weekly should go without saying). How else are we to ensure that we will “keep my covenant throughout the ages” if future generations have never heard of it?
In today’s first reading (Gen 17:3-9), God appears to Abraham once again to make a covenant with him. God promises to make the 99-year-old childless Abram “the father of a host of nations” (v. 4) thus changing his name to Abraham (“father of a multitude” — v. 5), God also promises to Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan “as a permanent possession” (v. 9). But they must promise to keep His covenant forever.
The headline is the first line of this reading. It is a lesson for us today. It is when Abram takes the position of worship, total deference, and humility that God communicates with him. Abram shows complete receptivity to his creator in what He has to say to him. Maybe our problem is that we are not enough like Abram. When we have a particular struggle and cannot clearly (or cannot at all) hear God’s message to us, His will for us, is it because we are not completely open to it? Does our will block His will? Are we confident that God is listening and will answer? Are we sure we will understand it? Are we afraid of what might be asked of us?
Abram models for us the proper attitude to God. A complete submission and openness to our loving Father is the only way to approach Him.