Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Genesis 22:1b-19; Matthew 9:1-8)

As it is easier to say, “May God bless you,” than to give your money to a poor man, it is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” than to say, “Arise and walk.” But “May God bless you” would be a blasphemy if one says it from miserliness which brings us to the critical issue in this passage. Is Jesus blaspheming as the scribes accuse him, at least to themselves, when he speaks of forgiveness of the paralytic’s sin? Apparently he is not because Jesus proves that he is God-like by revealing the thoughts of the men.

Then why, we need ask, does God have to test Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son if He already knows his heart? It sounds like an impertinent question. After all, who are we to critique God’s actions? But the command to destroy one’s son seems so out of character with what we believe God to be like that we are compelled to question God’s motive or be left forever thinking that God is as capricious as a cocky kid with pocket full of firecrackers.

Tests serve more purpose than giving the tester a means for evaluation. Tests enable students to learn about themselves as well as their subject matter. In this test Abraham learns that God does demand full allegiance from His people and that God will not hurt them on a whim. He also learns of how much he cherishes Isaac by the pain it causes him inwardly to reach the brink of destruction. God further teaches us of His love for us. After all, God did not spare His Son from carrying out the mission of our redemption even though He knew that it would end in His Son’s sacrifice which is not that different from what Abraham was about to do to Isaac.