Sunday, March 12, 2006

Gn 22:1-2

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”

In the Gospel today, we hear one of the most famous and troubling stories in the Bible. God...tellings his srvant Abraham...to kill his son...and Abraham willing to do it. Especially in a world where the god Baal (also known as "Moloch") who demanded the sacrifice of any child up to four years old was worshipped, it is particularly surprising that Abraham would have heeded this call.

However, trusting in God and believing there was nothing He could ask for that would be an evil, he took his son up and almost killed him. But by bein a "child in faith", God stops Abraham's hand. Fortunately, God doesn't quite ask us for this today. But if he did, how would one respond? There are good cases to be made for both sides, but the point of the story is just not to turn on God in times of confusion, when it seems like heaven has something against you.

In a certain sense though, God does ask for our children. This sense is the vocational sense. It is easy to ask for a give a few dollars for a fund-raiser, but is it easy to ask for ones children to respond to their call and be priests, brothers, and sisters? How easy is it to give them? Far too often, the responce is to put up a wall rivaling that of China around the vocation, pouring salt on it so it won't grow. Let us not be like this: if God was like this, we would not have salvation.

In the New Testament, we hear one of the most glorious events of Christ's life on this earth: The Transfiguration. This was the event where Christ's appearance was glorified He was brought into the fullness of his purpose. It was the second-to-last pre-cursor event to the passion.

Just before this, Christ tells us that anyone who is to follow himn must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow. After the Transfiguration, we see Christ accept the will of the Father. Abraham was spared the pain of sacrificing his son, but not God. How would we feel telling our children it was necessary for them to die? This is exactly what God the Father has to do. As a child, how could we say "not as I will but as you wilt"? There are simply some things we will never understand about God.

But because of the obedience of Christ to carry out His Father's will,he fulfills His divine purpose by dying on the Cross. By this, the blood of the Paschal Lamb opened Heaven, where all will go who, coming out of great tribulations, will wash our garments white in the blood of the lamb (Rev 7:14), just as Christ washed Himself white in the glory of the Father.