Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Ronald E. Heine; Origen | Go to book overview

HOMILY IX

On the promises made to Abraham the second time

THE FURTHER WE PROGRESS IN READING, the greater grows the accumulation of mysteries for us. And just as if someone should embark on the sea borne by a small boat, as long as he is near land he has little fear. But, when he has advanced little by little into the deep and has begun either to be lifted on high by the swelling waves or brought down to the depths by the same gaping waves then truly great fear and terror permeate his mind because he has entrusted a small craft to such immense waves. So also we seem to have suffered, who, small in merits and slight in ability, dare to enter so vast a sea of mysteries. But if by your prayers the Lord should see fit to give us a favorable breeze of his Holy Spirit we shall enter the port of salvation with a favorable passage of the word.

Let us see now, therefore, what the words are which have been read to us. "And the angel of the Lord," the text says, "called to Abraham a second time from heaven saying: 'By my own self have I sworn,' says the Lord, 'because you have done this thing1 and have not spared your beloved son because of me, I shall certainly bless you and multiply you, and your seed shall be as the stars of heaven in multitude and as the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered,'" etc.2 These words require a concerned and attentive hearer.

For this part of the statement is new: "And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven."3 But what the text adds is not new. For "I shall certainly bless you" has already been said earlier, and "I shall certainly multiply you" has been promised earlier, and "your seed shall be as the

____________________
1
Verbum. The LXX has rhēma, which can mean either "word" or "thing."
2
Gn 22.15-17.
3
Gn 22.15.

-148-

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