June 30, 2011 - Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

Abraham loved God so much that he was willing to give his most precious, the son that he loved, to the Lord.

I could say that, but it is a very dangerous thing to say. So long as no one is taking me seriously, so long as religion is nothing more than a game we play, saying words that mean nothing at all, all will be fine, but if someone makes the dreadful mistake of actually acting on the ideas contained in Scripture, I am in trouble. I could preach about how wonderful it is that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, and how we need to be willing to give everything to God, and then someone will go home and sacrifice their children. We all would consider them a monster, but they could say, and rightly so, “I wanted to give God everything.”

That is not what happened in the reading today. If someone ever tells you that there is any virtue in killing your children as a human sacrifice because you love God so very much, do not believe them. Our religion is not composed of a lot of stupidity said in solemn language. So let us begin with the antidote to complex stupidity: simple truths. It is wrong to kill innocent people. God does not want human sacrifices. If you think that God is asking you to kill someone to please him, stop and get medical care.

So what was going on in that reading? Abraham knew that God was going to stop him. That story is about faith. Abraham had a promise from God: Isaac will give you grandchildren. Isaac had not yet had any children. So Abraham knew that even if he took Isaac up on the mountain, God would save him. Even if Abraham stabbed Isaac through the heart, God would save him. Even if Abraham killed Isaac, God would even raise him from the dead. Abraham knew, as he walked up the mountain with Isaac, that Isaac would yet have children. He believed the promise. He had no doubt, and, therefore, he had no fear.

That is what we are called to learn today. Abraham believed, no matter what, that God would keep his promises. Jesus promised to take care of us, and he promised to be with us always. If we have the faith of Abraham, we will believe his promises and stop worrying about having enough in this world or about being alone.