In my lifetime the science of DNA, the genetic material in each of us has exploded. Today we can tell where a person’s ancestors originated. My family convinced me to join one of the services that investigates DNA. The results of my DNA study are eye-opening. I had no idea I have so much Neanderthal in me. One of the things DNA tells us is that everyone comes from somewhere else. And the racial mixes are surprising. Science tells us that there are very few races that exist today in the same geography where that race originally began their presence on planet earth. Everyone is an immigrant or the sons and daughters of immigrants. And there are very few pure races. Almost all of us have ancestors from several ethnic sources and geographies.
Abram began being a friend of God by becoming an immigrant.
The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.
Abram went as the LORD directed him.
That was a world-changing event.
Why did Abram leave his family and home. He and his wife were already advanced in age and relatively wealthy. God had promised Abram,
“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
Today we know from both Scripture and science that this great nation of Abraham occurred with many mixed marriages over the centuries. However, our faith can be traced all the way back to Abram and Ur of Chaldea. Our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This line of the human race was not a single ethnic race, but a single faith that began because Abram was faithful and obedient to God. Our present lives are the result not of genetics, but of faith and obedience in our ancestors. Every one of us are more the result of our faith rather than the result of a single ethnic group. Salvation history is not the history of an ethnic group, a race, but of the Faith of Abraham, handed down through Moses, Elijah, Mary and Joseph, Jesus, the Apostles, the Martyrs and Saints and our Universal Catholic Church. This is the human trail that says more about us than our blood-line. Our blood lines have changed many times, but our faith has remained unchanged. God’s promise to Abram has been fulfilled and he has made of us a great nation, in the Church of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But we continue to be pilgrims and immigrants in the world.
As immigrants we are pilgrims and missionaries. We are formed by the Word of God.
Paul told Timothy, the young Bishop of Ephesus,
He (God) saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.
Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
Three of our Christian Gospels in the Bible, Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor in Israel. In all three accounts, Jesus gave Peter, James and John a glimpse of Heaven when they saw Jesus walking and talking with Moses and Elijah. They were being formed to become Apostles to found our Church. In every account they heard God the Father say to them,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
We are in the early part of the season of Lent. There are many things that may be blocking our ears from listening to Jesus. We have many, many distractions and temptations to keep us from bearing our share of hardship for the Gospel, and going forth and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
We are part of a race of the children of Abraham. We are called to a holy way of life. God the Father tells us to listen to His Son, Jesus Christ. This is our lot in life. For this we were created and Baptized and initiated into His Church. The Kingdom of God is at hand for us.
The season of Lent is to help us to remember where we came from, and where we are going.
Please make time to pray this Lent, to listen to God’s Son, and to know and to bear our share of the Gospel. Don’t ignore Lent. Remember who you are and why you are here, on this path.