On Being Able to Say “Here I Am!”

On the Sundays of Lent, Bondings 2.0 will feature reflections by New Ways Ministry staff members. The liturgical readings for the Second Sunday of Lent are: Genesis 22: 1-2, 9-13, 15-18; Psalm 116: 10, 15-19; Romans 8: 31-34; Mark 9:2-10.   You can access the texts of these readings by clicking here.
Few experiences can match the surprise and dread I felt when, in grade school, as I was happily daydreaming during class, the teacher would call on me.  Thoughts racing and panic rising, I recall wondering what the question was and if I was in trouble.  Not knowing how to respond to my teacher, I remember that I just wanted to shrink back into my seat and disappear.
I cannot help but think that Abraham might have felt the same way when God suddenly called out, “Abraham!” in the Genesis narrative which is today’s first liturgical reading.  I imagine a person would feel an unbearable level of scrutiny and self-consciousness if his/her Creator singled them out by name.  But instead of giving into his instincts to shrink back and hide, Abraham exclaimed, “Here I am!”  There was no timidity in his voice; Abraham responded boldly and without hesitation to God’s call.
I think Abraham’s “Hear I am!” exclamation is the key to understanding the Transfiguration event, described in today’s Gospel.  For Abraham, those three words indicated that he was present and responsive to God; but for Jesus, “Here I am!” was an experience of profound self-disclosure to his disciples.  Jesus revealed more deeply who he was to his disciples in a mysterious, yet intensely intimate way.  Jesus made himself vulnerable to his disciples so that they could share more fully in the wonders of his own life.  I can think of no more powerful way to express the phrase “Here I am!” than the Transfiguration revelation.
Now what does “Here I am!” mean for LGBT Catholics and allies?  First and foremost, like Abraham, we need to boldly respond to God’s calling in our own lives.  This process of ongoing and daily conversion to conform ourselves to the Gospel is the basis for the Christian life.  And like Jesus, we must not fear opportunities to share our lives with others, particularly in regard to our support as people of faith for LGBT equality.  According to the Public Religion Research Institute, the majority of Catholics support marriage equality for lesbian and gay persons; however, 73% of Catholics think their fellow Catholics oppose marriage equality!  There is a perception/reality gap that we as LGBT Catholics and allies are called to overcome — to boldly say “Here I am!” to our fellow Catholics and be counted!
This Lenten season is a wonderful opportunity to examine how we are present to God and to others. Like Abraham and Jesus, may we be attentive to God’s calling to us — and may we have no hesitation to exclaim, “Here I am!” when the opportunity arises!
–Matthew Myers, New Ways Ministry

4 Responses to On Being Able to Say “Here I Am!”

  1. Adam James says:

    Here I am and here is my life!

  2. Chris Nunez says:

    I’m sorry you have chosen to ignore the ‘undercurrent’ of the story of the Binding of Isaac in the reading. This is one of those readings that should ‘terrify’ children and parents… Does this say to children that their parents are righteous if God asks them to sacrifice their child and the parent is obliged to ‘obey’?

    This reading can be interpreted thoughtfully, and I’m tired of the gloss of this reading, but even more disappointed in New Ways Ministry for not recognizing how this reading can be and has been misused!

  3. Kat says:

    Oh my gosh Chris. You are right! I feel terrible that i have glossed over the horrible point in this old testament story about Abraham going to sacrifice his son Isaac. It’s like I’ve been brainwashed into thinking this story is ok. It’s not ok! God does not ask us to kill, especially our own children! For Pete’s sake. I’m stunned by my own lack of reaction to the bible story. Thank you for waking this sleeping catholic up.

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