Genesis 21:5,8-20

5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
8 And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendants be named.13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”

14 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 in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes.16 Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the child.” And as she sat over against him, the child lifted up his voice and wept.17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.20 And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.

Matthew 8:28-34

28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters.
33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.


THE FIRST READING brings to light  tension in Abrahams marriage because of Sarah’s fear that Ismael may displace Isaac from his calling to be the progenitor of the nation of God to the extent that she demanded that Abraham evict the child and his ‘slave’ mother (worker) Hagar! Abrahams displeasure with his wife’s dictate is very apparent which led to God’s guidance that he obey his wife’s request. God also heard the cries of Ismael and Hagar  who were on the brink of perishing from thirst and offered them hope, consolation and led them to a wellspring with the promise that Ismael too shall  raise a great nation!

This story appears to indicate some kind of injustice caused by Sarah’s jealousy and to some extent Abraham’s apparent cooperation that saw the separation and displacement of a father and son! Not so, the story is a metaphor that illustrate “two covenants.” Isaac was a gift of Gods promise and Abrahams love for Sarah, whilst Ismael was “borne according to the flesh” (Gal 24:23-24)  which hint at our disobedience and sinful inclinations or concupiscence.

THE GOSPEL READING: Our Lord encounter two demon possessed men who recognized that He was the Son of God. We note two distinct voices, one that question and appose Christs presence and one that desire to be released from their diabolical state! The evil spirit submitted to Christs presence and power and was expelled to the extent that both these men were freed from their afflictions. We observe the strange response from the community who expelled Christ for meddling in their way of life that saw their loss of a herd of pigs!

Original sin allowed Satan to capture man from the beginning untill Christs death and ressurection offered us a way to escape his clutches. The author of the book of Hebrews remind us that whilst Christ redeemed us, we are still subject to “violent temptation!” Heb 2:15 To be sure we regularly encounter opposing voices that seek to on the one hand alert us to to refrain from evil and on the other hand to draw us into Satans insidious power to corrupt.When our lust and attachment to material and temporal satisfaction exceed and diminish our love and submission to Christ, then we have lost our way! Mercy, deliverance and hope await all of us whose childlike repentant cries shall be answered by a loving Father. 

LET US PRAY: Psalms 34:7-13

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.11 Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the LORD.12 What man is there who desires life, and covets many days, that he may enjoy good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.

Author. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days

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