A reading from the book of Genesis
(Chapter 22: 1-2,9a,10-13, 15-18)
This reading is foreign and horrible to us, even after these thousands of years. The first line is the clue: “God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am!’ he replied. Then God said: ‘Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.’”
What? God is asking Abraham to kill his only son, the child God had promised when Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was beyond child-bearing age? And worse still, Abraham agrees: “Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.” But in the nick of time God says, “Do not lay your hand on the boy…. I know now how devoted you are to God.”
So, this is a story, not an historical event, to show the devotion to God embraced by Abraham, the father of his people. The Book of Genesis and beyond throughout the Pentateuch is full of these stories about the journey of the people of Israel. Some may be historical, some not, but all tell the story of God’s Covenant with his people, our ancestors in faith.
“I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.” Do you ever feel that you are, indeed, “walking with the Lord.” Are there times when you feel closer to God than usual? These experiences may not come often, but when they do, let’s stop a while and be as present to God as we can. These wonderful gifts may pass quickly but their memory is itself a powerful presence. They may come again when we least expect them to help us on our journey not the Mystery.