8 March OS 2018: Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent; S. Theophylact of Nicomedia
The first reading at Vespers today is Genesis 17:1-9
Again God repeats His promise and renews His covenant with Abram. The reading begins by stating that Abram was ninety-nine years old at the time. The LORD waits until it is humanly impossible for him and Sarah to have children, in order to make it clear that Isaac’s birth, the fulfillment of the promise, is God’s work and not man’s. He is inaugurating the covenant of faith and of grace. All is from God.
At this particular repetition of the promise and renewal of the covenant, God makes a further revelation. He gives Abram a new name: Abraham, Father of Nations. Note that he is not the father of “the nation” or “a nation” but of “nations.” This title looks forward to the mission of the Holy Apostles, who converted the nations – the Gentiles – to the Faith of Abraham, after Pentecost. Abraham is the father of all the nations who come into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
God promises Abraham that their covenant will be “everlasting.” One day the same LORD who makes this promise to Abraham will stand as a man before Pontius Pilate and reveal to him that “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Let us trust in God and believe that all comes from Him, abandoning our trust in ourselves. Let us love the Church. And let us look forward to the Kingdom which is to come. Through the confession of the Faith and Holy Baptism, the God of Abraham has made an everlasting covenant with us. We have only to be faithful and to hope in His promise.