Today’s first reading, Genesis 16: 10-12, relates the story of Sarai’s treatment of Hagar, her servant whom she gave to her husband Abram to bear her some sons, as she herself was barren. Recall that God has promised Abram that he would have descendants too numerous to count. He makes the same promise to pregnant Hagar when she flees out into the wilderness to get away from Sarai’s abusive, jealous behavior. God’s messenger intervenes, meets Hagar in the wilderness, comforts her, promises her an abundance, listens to her groans/complaints, instructs her on naming her unborn child and sends her back to being a submissive servant to Sarai.
Discernment: Who am I in this Scripture passage? Sarai who ingeniously, following the law, gives Hagar, her servant to Abram, to bear the fruit that she was incapable of bearing? Like Sarai, do I look for ways to transform a barren situation into a fertile one? When I become the “fruitful” one, do I, like Hagar, look down on others less fortunate than I and, like Sarai, become jealous of those who are successful in ways that I am not? Do I, like Hagar, flee into the wilderness in an attempt to escape God’s plan for me when the going gets rougher than I thought it would? Who do I meet in my wildernesses? Do I recognize God’s messengers in my difficult moments or do I keep fleeing? Do I, like Hagar, brings my pain to the Lord, trusting that God will be listening?