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Wednesday, July 2, 2003

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Genesis 21:5, 8-20
Psalm 34
Matthew 8:28-34

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hope for the emotionally scarred

"God heard the boy's cry, and God's messenger called to Hagar from heaven: 'What is the matter, Hagar? Don't be afraid; God has heard the boy's cry in this plight of his. Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.' " —Genesis 21:17-18

At an impressionable age, young Ishmael was placed by his father on his mother's back and sent off into the desert (Gn 21:14). Soon his mother put the child under a bush and got out of sight so as not to see her child die (Gn 21:15ff). God sent an angel to rescue the child (Gn 21:16ff). "God was with the boy as he grew up" (Gn 21:20). In other words, he lived happily ever after.

Most people, especially psychologists and counselors, would say that this biblical account is unrealistic. In our secular humanistic culture, we doubt divine interventions. Even if God did intervene, most people influenced by psychology would conclude that the child, Ishmael, was so scarred by his childhood experiences of abandonment that he would never be free but at best an always-recovering survivor. However, the Lord's love and power overcomes even the worst human conditions.

The Lord's awesome victory over all evil is applied to our lives when we are baptized and when we live our baptismal promises. In our new, baptized nature, we actually do live happily ever after. We become a "new creation" (Gal 6:15). "The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind" (Is 65:17). So "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old order has passed away; now all is new!" (2 Cor 5:17)

Prayer:  Father, may I continually focus on Your all-powerful love and not on humanity's scars.

Promise:  "Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water." —Gn 21:19

Praise:  Joe took to heart his dying father's request that Joe get more involved in Presentation Ministries. Joe has been blessed many years now by his membership in a vibrant home-based community.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 29, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 31, 2002