Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.”
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.
And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today, July 5, my son Xavier Arrupe turns one year old. As I reflect on the readings today in light of being a parent, I can not help but imagine the pain that Abraham felt in sending Ishmael away and the distress that Hagar felt as she was unable to provide for Ishmael in the wilderness. But whether we are a parent or not, we all know the feeling of dealing with a difficult situation beyond our control and feeling the empathy towards another person whose suffering we cannot alleviate. What difficult situation might we invite God to help us with today?
“God was with the boy as he grew up,” is a powerful reminder that invites each of us to trust in the accompaniment of the God who loves us unconditionally and throughout all hardships in our lives. May we dwell in that love and reassurance today.
Loving God, in the midst of the trials and difficult times in our lives, you remain with us. Help us to trust that you will be there to guide us and give us strength through your infinite love.
—The Jesuit Prayer team