We are bombarded with promises every day of our lives. Whatever society or the next person is selling is presented by way of a promise. You must see this movie or this program to fulfill your life. You must buy this product to make you look beautiful or to help you feel better or to make you happy. You can get rid of those wrinkles with this cream or you can improve your portfolio if you follow this advice. You are promised the world by the world, and yet there are very few of those promises that endure the test of time or of trial.
In the Book of Genesis today (Genesis 12: 1-4a) we are given a promise by the Lord that is too good to be true, that is hard to believe. Because of his love for his people, and despite their sinfulness, God promises Abram that he will make of his descendants a great nation, to give them blessings beyond counting, even to bring blessing to those who bless them. He says "All the communities of the earth will find blessing in you." That promise continued throughout Israel's journey with the Lord, through Moses and the Law and in the prophetic word being shared with the people by the prophets.
That promise was brought to completion when the Father sent the Living Word, Jesus, to be one with us in all things but sin. Those who met him, who saw his love in action, who heard his words of comfort and mercy, knew that they were blessed. Yet even his closest friends found themselves saying "This is hard to believe" and "This is too good to be true." There was that lingering doubt, that uncertainty that undermined their faith.
When Jesus took his friends, Peter, James and John to that mountaintop and was transfigured before their eyes, he sealed the deal. When they saw their friend and companion in all of his glory, with his face shining like the sun and his clothes white as light, their faith was strengthened and affirmed. When they heard the voice from the cloud acknowledge "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him", they laid aside their fears and doubts, and embraced their call to walk in his footsteps, proclaim the Good News, and show others that to listen to him, to follow him, is to embrace the promise of life eternal and share in the life and glory of God.
Many years later, our Lenten journey invites us to live as Children of the Promise and listen to the Lord of Life. Peter, James and John saw and believed. Jesus assures us that "Blessed are those who have not seen, and who have believed."