Lent: Thursday of the Fifth Week

“No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a multitude of nations.” (Genesis 17:5)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Many responses are given to Abraham by God, but they are not all delivered to one and the same man. For some are to Abram and some to Abraham; that is, some are expressed after the change of name and others while he was still known by his name given at birth. And first indeed, before the change of name, God delivered to Abraham the oracle that says, “Go out from your country and from your kindred and from your father’s house,” and the rest. But no order is given in this about the covenant of God, no order about circumcision. For it was not possible while he was still Abram and was bearing the name of his physical birth to receive the covenant of God and the mark of circumcision. But when “he went out from his country and his kindred,” then responses of a more sacred kind are delivered to him at this time. First God says to him, “You shall no longer be called Abram, but Abraham shall be your name.” Then at once he received the covenant of God and accepted circumcision as a sign of faith that he could not accept while he was still in his father’s house and in the relationship of flesh and while he was still called Abram.” (Homilies on Genesis, 3)

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. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen