Second Sunday of Lent

Gen 22:1-2 & 9-13; Rom 8:31-34; Mk 9:2-10 (Year B)

“God put Abraham to the test. ‘Take your Son, your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’”

The Letter to the Hebrews describes the Word of God as cutting like a double-edged sword, slipping through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, judging secret emotions and thoughts.

I believe that the account of Abraham’s testing, received with faith and humility, has the power to search our “secret emotions and hearts”. Such searching lies at the heart of Lent’s call to repentance.

Initially we are shocked by the suggestion that the God of Israel could even propose the sacrifice of a beloved son. We must get beyond this, and humbly accept that the passage is not intended to debate the ethics of child sacrifice. Human sacrifice had never been a part of Israel’s ritual practice. The passage is directed squarely at the unconscious calculation that we bring to the surrender of faith. If we believe that Christian discipleship is indeed a calling, costing no less than everything, then we must allow Abraham’s testing to speak to our hearts.

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