Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Mark 9:2-10 • Faith in God brings comfort and cheer, even in the midst of stress and crushing difficulties. Faith is what helps us trust God in difficult times.
• The testing of Abraham is one of the masterpieces, in the Old Testament, of a man who trusted in God no matter the outcome. The story echoes a brutal age in which the sacrifice of children was not uncommon – in fact, Canaanites were taught to sacrifice an animal in place of their offspring, to turn them away from this horrendous temptation.
• But the real point of the story, made so wonderfully, is the absolute trust that is asked of Abraham, making him the model of all true believers.
• Abraham learns that he can trust God with the life of his precious son, even though what he is asked to do seems contrary to all God’s previous promises: “Take your son, your only-begotten son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the Land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering ” Gen. 22:2. This meant that Abraham would not have descendants as God had promised him earlier. Gen.15:5
• Abraham could not foresee the conclusion of the story, but he never hesitated about his loyalty to God even if it meant immeasurable sacrifice.
• His obedience and faithfulness are blessed by God: “I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore… because you have obeyed my Voice.” Gen. 22:15-18.
• The happy conclusion of the episode showed that Abrahams surrender to God’s will was the best guarantee of his wellbeing, including the safety of his son, “For if God is for us, who can be against us?” Rom.8:31b. "If he cares for lilies of the field and the birds of the air, will he not look after us and our dear ones even more sedulously?" Cf. Luke 12:22-31.
• The story shows how complete was Abraham’s faith in God and obedience to God.
• When we place all our trust in the Lord, there will always be a reward; there will always be a blessing.
• This heart-rending story of the testing of a father’s love is linked in today’s liturgy with the basic truth of our Christian faith, proclaimed by St Paul, in the second reading. The eternal Father, who for our sake ‘did not spare his own Son’ Rom.8:32, will not refuse anything to his people in their need, if only they trust Him.
• God is on our side! We can trust him for our needs.
• The promise made to Abraham was to be fulfilled in the victory of the Saviour’s resurrection. As he undertakes the journey towards the Cross and its glorious aftermath, he gives the chosen three among his followers (Peter, James and John) a glimpse of the triumph in which he would fulfil the promise of the Law (Moses) and realise all the hopes of the prophets (Elijah).
• God can be trusted; even though his son will soon die on the cross, He will glorify him, he will raise him to life; he will not abandon nor forsake him.
• Always remember that:
Jesus trusted his Father, and when they crucified him on the cross, His Father never disappointed him; He raised him up on the third day.
Though God took away Job’s flock and field, family and friends, health and happiness; Job still trusted in Him. Job 13:15
Noah trusted God when people ridiculed him while he was building the Ark in a waterless land. Gn 7
Joseph trusted for rescue from God when he was thrown into a pit by his brothers. Gen 37:24_28
Abraham and Sarah trusted and waited for 15 years to have the promise of them getting a child come true. Gen 21:5
Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego trusted in God's salvation when they declined to worship an Image of Gold as ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 3
• We pray for the grace to learn to place our trust in the Lord during this season of Lent.
• Difficult times will happen to us all. Though it is easy to get afraid of having nowhere to turn, these are the moments that we need to remember that, those who put their trust in God never get disappointed.
“To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.”