A father was traveling with two boys. One was his child and the other was entrusted to him by a neighbour. On the way they were attacked by ritualists and the father was given an option to hand over one of the boys if not both would be taken away. The father offered himself but was rejected and the options of the boys was insisted upon. And of course the right thing to do is to give up your own son though the difficulty remains extreme, the temptation remains most terrible yet a choice has to be made. In the first reading (Genesis 22:1- ….) Abraham, the father of many nations, was asked to sacrifice with his own hand the very hope, the very son, the beloved, the link by which he would be really Abraham the father of all. In reality this sacrifice required of Abraham almost wasn’t about the sacrifice at all; if we read in between the lines we’ll see that it was not so much about Abraham’s faith in God or his Isaac-based hope, it was first of all about his friendship with God.
Reading through Genesis the way the relationship between Abraham and God developed which show it more clearly: the call of Abraham; Gen. 12:1, the promise; Gen. 12:17, God’s Special protection Gen. 12:17-20, 20:2-18, Victories in war; Gen 14:17, confirmation of the promise to be his very own offspring from the legal wife Gen. 15:1-6, 17:20 the ritualising of the convenant Gen. 15:17-18, his Godly instinct; welcomes angels And Isaac’s pregnancy Gen.18:1-15 God consults Abraham..”God gists with Abraham” Gen 18:17-32. We should note that in the scriptures every episode is chosen out of many of its kind because the chosen story conveys the message probably better; it means that there would have been many of the episodes of this “gisting” between God and Abraham…almost like saying God discussing with Abraham is almost “Normal” .
Then There comes the fulfilment of the promised offspring Gen.21:1-7 Immediately after the above episode of the fulfilment comes the episode of the test. As if to say now that someone else is in your life Abraham what becomes of our friendship…am I still the first on your scale of Love?… or is it your son, your only son, your beloved. We all know the response of Abraham. Which was not easy on him it took him everything in his being to say – with terrifying proofyour friendship matters more to me than anything, anyone in the whole world. This friendship between Abraham and God represents the kind of friendship God seeks with humanity, with Christianity, with each one of us; a friendship where to me nothing, no other thing, no other person is number one but Christ just as to Christ no other person, no other thing is number one but I Alone. In fact as in the second Reading (Roman 8:31-34) with him as my ultimate friend who can be against me?; who can can condemn me?, in fact what in Abraham he prevented from himself would not avert, for my sake he didn’t spare his own son, his only son, the Beloved and the same Son willingly laid down his life for me.
Oh yes He made me number one on his scale of love and He’s asking me to do the same to make him the number one on my scale of love. (Mark 9:2-9) On Mount Tabor he showed me his glory, the promised glory he wants to share with me, the glory he died crucified to gain for me because he has made me number one (in fact to Christ everyone, every person he died for is a number one on his scale of love). And all he asks of me in this lent is to start the journey by which I would arrive at making him my number one on the scale of love. In every Christian love relationship there are three persons: I, my loved one and Christ. Could be Christian marriage: Christ, husband and wife; Could be Christian family: Christ, parents and children, could be Christian friendship, Christ and the friends involved Could be Christian engagement: Christ and the fiancées. It is easy to give up one’s pleasure in order to please God than to give up the pleasure of a loved one or to watch him feel offended or in pain because we choose not to sin with/ for him or her.
Actually the person that we choose to please is always the number one on our scale of love. At temptations we are always placed in a situation of choice; choosing God could mean displeasing a friend or a loved one (Acts 5:29) How much does the friendship with He mean to us?….The Lord is asking us to start a lenten journey into grooming a friendship with him so as to make him the first on our scale of love just as he made us first on his own scale of love on Mount Calvary….May the Lord be our light and strength as we journey on in life and love….amen! glory be to Jesus…