In today’s readings, God combats the temptation we can have to activism. Fr John Hardon SJ defines activism as Preoccupation with activity instead of reflection...Activism is part of the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, which holds that the main purpose of thought is not to discover and contemplate the truth, but to change reality, especially social reality, in the world. A consequence of this is the idea that for me to be valuable, I must be useful, I must be producing something.
And we see this all the time. Examples include being unable to sit quietly by ourself doing nothing, bragging about how busy we are, filling out time with work, and being unable to remove ourselves from behind a screen.
Of course, the idea that to be valuable I need to produce something is complete nonsense. My value, and my happiness do not revolve around production. My value is based on how God values me, and the reality that he loves me infinitely and that nobody can ever change that. And my happiness depends on my union with God - the more united I am with him, the stronger my participation in beatitude.
This is the Lord’s point today. The whole First Reading is all about what God wants to do for Abram - and for us. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham...I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations...your issue shall be kings...I will establish my Covenant between myself and you...I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in...I will be your God.’
So happiness and value is not all about us. Or about us doing things. This is an especially important message for all of you at home, frustrated about the things you can’t do. Life and happiness is not firstly about that! It’s about the action of God, and allowing him to do what he wants with us. Let us use this time to practice, first of all, to abandon ourselves daily totally to his will.
Let us pray:
Be near, O Lord, to those who plead before you,
and look kindly on those who place their hope in your mercy,
that, cleansed from the stain of their sins,
they may persevere in holy living
and be made full heirs of your promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.