Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
The image of the covenant, especially in light of faith and liberty, comes out in the readings today. The first reading contrasts two women: the freeborn woman (Sarah) and slave woman (Hagar) and the covenant these women represent via the sons born to them (Sarah bears Isaac [Genesis 21:1-8] and Hagar bears Ishmael [Genesis 16:1-16]). The analogy is meant to point out, while the Israelites were previously slaves, they are now able to rejoice because of the freedom that Christ brought. In one’s daily journey, it can feel like one is a slave to sin and the first week of the Spiritual Exercises addresses this point. However, the end of this week, the retreatant (hopefully) comes away with the recognition that despite being a sinful person, she or he has been set free from the burden of sin.
Jesus reiterates this point in the Gospel in speaking about the contrasts between the Ninevites and the people of His time. Just as the prophet Jonah was sent to the Ninevites to preach repentance (Jonah 1:2), so too Jesus came to Jerusalem (and the rest of the world) to speak about the Kingdom of God. The difference is that in the latter, there is “something greater than Jonah” (Luke 11:32) in their midst; yet, the people fail to see it. On this day of returning back to our covenant with God, spend a few moments noting when God called you out of darkness and back into the light.