Our readings for today are about Faith and sacrifice. God in His great love for us, has given us faith. Faith for me is more important than any other gift. Without true Faith and following with the strength of belief we are left to wallow in the diversions of this world.
Let us look at Abraham in the first reading from Genesis. Abraham was instructed to take his son Isaac to a high place and offer him up as a holocaust sacrifice. Abraham doesn’t ask why. He just does as God commands. His faith and belief are incredibly strong. God is so moved by Abraham’s obedience that He orders a messenger to stop Abraham from killing Isaac. God expresses His gratitude to Abraham and promises to make his descendants as countless as the stars.
We are given the gift of Faith, how we accept it and how we use it are a result of our use of free will.
How do we emulate Abraham? One way is by honoring God’s gift to us in His son. In our Gospel Jesus, Peter, James and John all go up on a mountain where Jesus is transfigured. God is revealing His Son to us. We know that Jesus will be a sin offering for us, just as Isaac was for Abraham.
Even St. Paul in our 2nd reading says, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” We are called to offer love to others as God has offered it to us. No we are not called to offer our children as a sacrifice. But we are called to Trust God unequivocally (without question).
In a number of near death experiences, those who have returned and told their story, recount having God share with them a life review. What God expresses great joy about in our lives are not the great gifts we might give to the Church, but the smaller gifts of self we give to one another.
A couple of examples would be: After leaving church on Sunday and stopping at Lee’s for chicken, we offer some to the man in the corner. Something we wanted so much, we are willing to share with someone in need. Another would be, when volunteering to help, that we go much beyond that which is expected. Giving of ourselves either physically or mentally is very satisfying to the Lord.
Visiting the home bound or taking them out to lunch or for a ride or shopping are gifts of sacrifice. It requires time and effort but the joy we give will be with them far longer that a sandwich. God is a lover, a sharer and a giver. He asks us to be like Him.