Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
Spiritual writers often use a journey as a metaphor for the spiritual life. As we return to the Book of Genesis, we read that God's call to Abram literally asks him to make a journey. Abram sets out on this road trip in search of God and a heritage. Chapter twelve of Genesis asks all of us to make that same journey, a trip that begins with a "right turn." Up to this point in the Scriptures, we have heard the creation account followed by a series of missteps on the part of the pinnacle of God's creative energy. First Adam and Eve fall. This is followed by the sin of Cain. In quick succession we hear of the story of Noah's Ark and the Tower of Babel. However, as chapter twelve opens, we make a turn toward salvation as God's plan to redeem us begins with Abram and his household.
As Abram and his household pull up stakes and move on to a different homeland, we realize that we are all called to do the same thing. Each of us must leave our former lives behind, pull up stakes and resettle in the land of God's grace. We are called to leave the sins of the past in the dust of the desert and return to God's loving embrace. This journey takes a lifetime, a lifetime of conversion.
God's plan of salvation culminates in Jesus. Though Abram and his household wander through the desert slowly, as do most caravans, St. Paul compares our journey to a foot race. Just as Abram demonstrated faith by answering God's call, so too, we respond to Jesus' call with faith. God's plan took thousands of years to unfold. Our journey, on the other hand, only encompasses a few years by comparison. However, it takes no less than the faith of Abram to complete our race. We have a great many examples of faith in our history, a great cloud of witnesses as the Letter to the Hebrews calls them. That cloud will protect us from the searing rays of the sun as we journey through our desert, our lives, and move ever closer to the refreshing waters of the Promised Land.