The first reading at today’s Mass was Genesis 22: 1 – 18. This is the story of God calling Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac. Abraham and Issac travel to the bottom of the mountain where they leave the servants and go by themselves to the top. When they get there they build an altar and Issac gets onto it and Abraham ties him to it. Just as he is about to plunge the knife into Issac the Lord stops him.
There are two angles here. The first, and I suppose the most obvious, is that Abraham was willing to do anything to show his faith in God. He believed that if God wanted him to do this, it was for a good reason. How many of us would do the same? If God came to us and asked us to sacrifice our son, or anything else, would we do it?
What if God asked us to leave our comfortable lives, our laptops and cell phones, our fancy cars and large flat screen TV’s. our cushy jobs and gourmet meals, for a hut in the African jungle and a job as a missionary? What would you do? Would you say yes or would you be like the ruler who wanted to follow Jesus but refused to give up his worldly goods? Luke 18: 18 – 39. We might not be called to anything so drastic, but you never know.
Then there is the other angle. Many of us tend to think that Issac is just a baby. But in reality he was far from an infant, he was at least a teenager and possibly much older. He was old enough to know what he was doing. Issac carried the wood for the altar and the fire. He willingly climbed onto the sacrificial altar and let Abraham tie him to it. Issac had to know what was happening and he could have refused to be a part of this. But he too trusted the Lord and was willing to do what was asked of him.. Would you willingly climb on the altar to be sacrificed?
Last week I heard about the Deputy Sheriff in Lakeland FL who was in the school when the shooting occurred. He did nothing. He froze. I don’t know this man, I don’t know the circumstances of his life, but I use this as an example. This man was like Issac. He was called to possibly sacrifice his life in order to save others. If you were called to do this, what would you do? I am not sure any of us can answer that question truthfully. I like to think I would have done something to try to save the students, but I don’t really know.
When God calls us to perform some duty, we need to be ready to respond. Whether it is to take a bullet for another, leave our comfy lives to save others, or even to forego that extra serving in order to give it to the hungry, would we do it?
It’s something to think about, or even better to pray about.
My wife asked me for something to help her understand the Bible a little better. I found this little book Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History that does a simple, but excellent job in simplifying and explaining salvation history. If you purchase this book through Amazon the Wayward Catholic receives a small portion of the proceeds. Thank you.