Saturday, 8 July 2017

Week 13 Saturday (Year 1)

Readings: Genesis 27:1-5, 15-29; Psalm 135; Matthew 9:14-17

The blessing promised to Abraham and his descendants meanders. It does so to some extent in the experiences of Abraham himself and it certainly begins to do so in the lives of his son and grandson. But God is working his purpose out even through the cunning and deceit of human beings. In spite of base motives at work in those who are his instruments, the purposes of God are not to be thwarted. Jacob, whom we might be tempted to see as an operator, becomes in his turn the father of Israel, in fact the first to bear that name, and someone who, in spite of his character, sees God. 'God writes straight with crooked lines' is a traditional way of putting this. Our sins and other wrong turnings do not baffle God who can work them into the revelation of His glory and the salvation of His world. But it is not without conflict and difficulty, at every step.

Mary's involvement in the working out of God's purpose we believe to be quite different: forthright, honest, and sincere. The gifts of grace in her, the character with which God endowed her, her holiness, entitle her to be called Queen of Peace. It is Saturday, Mary's day, the Sabbath. Her day is the day of Shalom, of blessing, peace and rest. It is a time to think of the one in whom the promise ceased to meander and came to dwell and bore fruit in the conception of the Incarnate Word.

Of what kind is this peace called Shalom? Well it is not the peace we find on the Moon. In fact the Moon is not at all peaceful: it is lifeless, colourless, sterile. Neither is the peace of Hades the peace for which the human heart longs (some kind of 'eternal rest'). We want also to be alive while enjoying peace, eternally alive. And it is only where there is life that there can be peace in the true sense of Shalom. Only where we find all that goes with being alive, can there be peace in the rich, biblical sense. Where the things that mark our life - anxiety, threat, fear and need - are ordered and attended to in a way that is just, then we have Shalom, a justice-filled peace that is the fruit of integrity and truthfulness. Mary who is Queen of Peace is also Mirror of Justice, reflecting it in the words of her Magnificat and in the integrity of her life.

The Book of Genesis helps in revealing the human world of the patriarchs, a world frail and anxious, constantly threatened by injustice and war. It paints striking pictures for us of the human world as it always was, it seems, and as it is always likely to be. And yet God is present and involved in that world, close to those people, bearing with their unreliability and infidelity. God (and Mary too) remain close and available particularly to the poor, to all who work with them to help them, to all who work for justice and development, reconciliation and peace. In spite of so many problems, many people continue to work for God's Kingdom, to build, by God's grace, the Shalom promised by Jesus and reflected in the life of Mary.

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