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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella


Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.

(Genesis 22:1 NIV)

The patriarch Abraham had come a long way from Ur of the Chaldees, taking risks several times with his wife, before he saw the promise of Isaac fulfilled. By now his son has grown up, he has become "Abraham," and it is he whom God calls to ask for the imponderable. To that powerful voice that speaks his name, he can offer no other answer than "Here I am." In ancient Hebrew it is "Hineni," there I am, I am here. What a difference with Adam, who ran to hide when called on the dusk. In the garden a human being is pursued by God who demands an explanation for a terrible failure. Abraham's response is to a divine call not necessarily connected with any offense. Even before Adam, in biblical revelation we find the Creator's Here I am, which precedes the very relationship with humans. God shows up in history and sets up a "dialogue of life" with his creatures. How wonderful! I am fascinated by this term and the gesture and attitude that accompany it; I seek it and search for it, wait for it some times, demand it others, because it is always the beginning of something new or extraordinary.

It is a matter of showing up or running for office. "Here I am" presupposes a coming out of the closet, a being ready for any request, whether identified even as a test, as in the text of Isaac's sacrifice. In the first biblical pages, after Abraham, another patriarch must leave his country, his certainties. "And God spoke to Israel in night visions and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" He answered, 'Here I am'" (Genesis 46:2). And from Egypt and Midian it then fell to the fugitive Moses. "Now the LORD saw that he had moved to see, and God called him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" He answered, 'Here I am'" (Exodus 3:4). Some time ago a rabbi said that human history is all the consequence of the encounter between two solitudes: the solitude of God and the solitude of Man. In that little word, in that "Here I am," there is so much. First and foremost, the response to a subtle and powerful voice that speaks in the depths of the heart, capable of attracting. It is necessary to recognize it, like Elijah, and allow oneself to be drawn out of the cave to welcome it and listen to it, distinguishing the words. Yes, because this is the beginning of a dialogue that needs the disposition to listen, a tiptoeing approach to the one who calls us. Just like Moses, who was immediately forced to take off his shoes in order to tread the ground of that holy and divine manifestation.

The prophet Isaiah also had a similar experience, inside the temple. After being submerged in God's holiness, enveloped in the smoke of His glory, cleansed in the lips by a heavenly creature, instead of being lost or crushed, he is engaged by the merciful action. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”'(Isaiah 6:8). In the presence of the Lord, upon hearing His thunderous voice, you cannot remain indifferent, motionless, impassive. Something stirs within and the word "Here I am" becomes a challenge for faith, a sign to reread our life as an adventure of meaning. Thus you place yourself in service, responding like the disciples to the transforming "Follow me." The encounter with God in our history is equally prophetic and provocative: it radically changes our perspective by introducing us to a higher plane. So it was for the virgin Mary, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38), but also for the disciple Ananias in Damascus, "The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”And he said, “Here I am, Lord” (Acts 9:10).

This word, simple and great, also expresses the whole in a person's life. In fact, Jesus himself spoke it, "Here am I, I come to do your will" (Hebrews 10:7, 9). "Here I am" is thus on the one hand confident surrender, and on the other hand a search for meaning, for recognition. "Here I am" is also the possibility of approaching those who claim us or only question us. The disposition to listen always and in any case. To be near, close, next to the other, to those who call or are in need. always with full respect for their individuality (as in the case of the sick). Dear reader, if you feel called, it is time to respond.


Weekly Bible Reading Plan #26

June 19, Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37

June 20, Esther 1-2; Acts 5:1-21

June 21, Esther 3-5; Acts 5:22-42

June 22, Esther 6-8; Acts 6

June 23, Esther 9-10; Acts 7:1-21

June 24, Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43

June 25, Job 3-4; Acts 7:44-60

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