Sunday, Feb. 29, 2015
Second Sunday of Lent
Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15-19
I have long understood that what God asks of Abraham, the sacrifice of his own son, born long after any child was expected — or even thought possible — was a foreshadowing of God offering his only Son Jesus for us all.
What God is asking in Genesis 22 seems insane and impossible — but only if he were not both willing and planning to do the same.
When Abraham is on the verge of killing his long-awaited son, God intervenes and provides a ram caught in the bushes nearby.
All of this, of course, anticipates the perfect sacrifice the Father would offer in Jesus.
In the last few days, I have connected with an Indonesian priest serving the faithful in Russia.
He left his tropical home where he received his formation as a Society of the Divine Word priest to minister in the sub-Arctic cold of Russia.
The photos he shared on Facebook showed the bright blue Russian church in the snow-covered area where he serves.
For a missionary priest from Indonesia to serve in such a place is an act of sacrifice reminiscent of that asked of our father in faith, Abraham.
It may seem to Fr. Milto Seran like a bit part in the long road of salvation history, but to those of us who have been asked so much less, it seems a major role.
The central role in this drama of salvation is that of our Lord Jesus who is revealed to his disciples Peter, James, and John in the passage from today’s Gospel in Mark 9.
Jesus’ relation to the Father is revealed as he is transfigured on a high mountain where he shines brighter than anything on earth could shine, and God gives his followers the ultimate message demanding our attention and obedience: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” No exclamation points needed, but imagine the majesty of the voice.
This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.