Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18/ Romans 8:31b-34 / Mark 9:2-10
I was watching a TV show the other night. . .
And a mobster family played a
major role in the plot.
The teenage daughter
in this mob family
was in that rebellion stage. . .
especially about religion.
Her mom and dad are concerned. . .
because they take their faith
so seriously, of course. . .
despite doing what mob bosses do. . .
So they call their priest.
And bless his heart. . .
the priest looks like he’s 80 years old.
He’s probably not going to connect.
What’s he going to say
to all of a sudden
make this budding atheist believe in God?
And just as soon as the priest
starts bringing up the parents issues. . .
Sophia. . .
that’s the daughter’s name. . .
starts telling the story of God
asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. . .
The one we just heard in the Old Testament. . .
And Sophia storms out calling the
God in this story a “deranged, despot.”
The Binding of Isaac is an interesting story indeed.
Through the ages it has inspired. . .
puzzled. . .
and repulsed many.
In his book The God Delusion. . .
prominent atheist Richard Dawkins
says this about the binding of Isaac:
God ordered Abraham to make a
burnt offering of his longed-for son.
Abraham built an altar,
put firewood upon it,
and trussed Isaac up on top
of the wood.
His murdering knife was already
in his hand when an angel
dramatically intervened with
the news of a last-minute change of plan:
God was only joking after all. . .
A modern moralist cannot
help but wonder how a
child could ever recover from
such a psychological trauma. . .
and [it’s] the first recorded use of
the Nuremberg defence:
“I was only obeying orders.” (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion)
There’s that deranged
despot God of the Old Testament again.
Is there a difference between
the God of the Old Testament and
the God of the New Testament?
Is the God in the Old Testament a strange,
All through the history of Christianity,
from the second century
up through the present time. . .
some have been tempted to
make such a claim.
Well, if we really think about it. . .
that just can’t be the case.
What God did Jesus worship?. . .
The God of the Old Testament.
What Scriptures did Jesus quote
from all the time?
Jesus’ Bible was the Old Testament. . .
the Hebrew Scriptures.
The biggest mistake that some make
when reads this story
and concluding that God is a
deranged tyrant. . .
is they just don’t know the fundamentals. . .
they don’t know the fundamentals of
how we Catholics read the Bible.
First, the God of the Old Testament is
the God of the New Testament. . .
and God has been definitely revealed
through Jesus Christ.
We humans can be slow
when it comes to getting to know
who God is and what God wants. . .
So our understanding of God develops. . .
chapter after chapter of the Bible
with God saying:
but there’s so much more. . .
Until God is ultimately
Revealed in Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament to the new records that
gradual understanding. . .
that God is a God of complete self-sacrificial love. . .
and God cannot act against God’s own nature.
So when we come at this
“Binding of Isaac” story
with this foundation. . .
It just opens up. . .
It opens up like a flower in full bloom. . .
revealing its beauty and fragrance
as a literary masterpiece.
This story is not about child sacrifice.
or God asking Abraham to kill another innocent human being. . .
his own son.
Judaism is a moral religion. .
The Jewish law from God is clear. . .
“Thou shalt not kill!!!”
God wants nothing to do with
something immoral. . .
nothing. . .
especially the killing
of an innocent human being. . .
God does not want some immoral tribute!!!
So, the key to the story,
is what Isaac represents to Abraham.
Isaac represents Abraham’s future. . .
And his clan’s future.
Isaac represents Abraham’s hope!!
God is saying in this story. . .
Do you trust me enough with your future?. . .
Do you trust me enough with your plans?. . .
Does your hope lie in me?. . .
Not yourself and your own plans. . .
Not the future you may have planned for yourself. . .
But the future I have planned for you.
Will you sacrifice your own plans for mine?
Do you trust me?
See how the story opens up!!!
Jesus came that we might have
life more abundantly. . .
Abundant life is the business that God’s in.
So God is saying:
“Do you trust my love for you enough
when I do ask you to sacrifice things. . .
to give up things. . .
it’s because it would lead to a
more abundant life!!!
God is saying:
“I know humanity. . .
I created humanity. . .
I know you more intimately than know yourself. . .
And I love you. . .
Do you trust me with your future?
Would you give up whatever I ask?. . .
Not sacrificing another human being of course. . .
God would never ask that. . .
But would you give up whatever I ask. . .
Trusting me with your plans. . .
Trusting that I will give you
life more abundantly?
Isn’t that so much of what Jesus teaches?
Like the rich young ruler
who was so attached to possessions and money
that they prevented him from
living a more fulfilling life. . .
or asking us to give up sin. . .
or to give up resentments
against our enemies. . .
asking us to give up things that prevent us
from being in perfect relationship with Him. . .
that’s where fulfillment lies!!!
Will you fast?. . .
Will you pray?. . .
Will you give alms?. . .
Do you trust me enough
with your future?
Do you know how much I love you?
Do you trust me?
Do you trust the God revealed in Jesus. . .
Whose divinity is revealed in the Transfiguration. . .
Whose love is revealed in the Crucifixion. . .
Whose plan for us is revealed in the Resurrection?
Do you trust me?
So as this story of Abraham and Isaac
opens up to reveal its beauty. . .
and to release its wonderful fragrance. . .
the God of Abraham and Isaac
is certainly no crazy and desperate despot. . .
no maniacal tyrant. . .
But a God who does nothing but love us. . .
And desires to be in relationship with us. . .
So we can live life more abundantly.
Holy Spirit 02/27-28/2021