Week 2


Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18

Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19

Rom 8:31b-34

Mk 9:2-10


"Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love... you shall offer him up as a holocaust." (Gen 22:1-2). 

Suffering, pain, and sacrifice. These are three of the most difficult things for mankind today and when you believe in an ""all-loving God"", the struggle to comprehend them becomes even more real. However, as Catholics, we are called to follow in the way of David, who exclaimed, ""I believed, even when I said, 'I am greatly afflicted.' Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones,"" (Ps 116:10) trusting in the Lord and his divine will, no matter what it may bring. Our lifelong battle with suffering is perhaps the greatest struggle, for many, in accepting the faith and surrendering fully to God. It is a topic that theologians throughout the years have pondered and, while many explanations have been given, all center upon one core thing: God ""did not spare his own son, but handed him over for us all"" (Rom 8:32). If God, who created ""all things in heaven and on earth,... things visible and invisible"" (Col 1:16), was willing to sacrifice his only Son for our salvation, how much more willing must we, his degenerate children, be to sacrifice all for him, to die for the Lord.

Now, it is essential to consider that sacrificing our lives or ""the death of his faithful ones"" does not necessarily mean the crown of martyrdom, dying for the faith. In fact, for the vast majority of us, it does not. The sacrifice of God's faithful is to ""deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow [him]."" (Lk 9:23) Sacrifice to the level of martyrdom, while honorable, is not even a reality in most biblical stories, including many of those with types of Christ, like today's story of Abraham and Isaac. That said, in such stories, God's faithful always remain open to whatever sacrifices God desires, even those greater than martyrdom, and so too ought we to be. Today, we hear of Isaac who, as pointed out by Origen of Alexandria, symbolizes Christ as both the victim and the priest, carrying the wood of sacrifice, a priestly duty, which was also supposed to be his very own ""cross"" to die upon. Yet he did not walk alone and neither do we. Isaac is accompanied by Abraham, also acting as priest to perform the sacrifice, and, in Isaac's moment of deepest struggle, he cries out to his father, much like Jesus did upon the cross and we must in our own struggles. Relying on our own power and strength, which are non-existent, will lead nowhere, only confiding in God will sustain us. Moreover, although there are mixed thoughts on Abraham's emotions upon hearing God's call, one thing is utterly clear; he did not hesitate or doubt. Like our Blessed Mother, who gave her fiat at the Lord's calling, Abraham consented to God's will, likely with questions and maybe even trepidation, but with trust nonetheless. This is what we too must do when God calls, knowing that his ways are not our ways (cf. Is 55:8) and all things that happen are permitted by God. 

Reflecting on this call, let us go through this next week in search of how we can crucify ourselves to this world and live for God alone. As with many things, it is often best to start simple. I challenge us all to, prayerfully choose one thing each day that we can either go without, to better unite ourselves to God. This could be something simple like eating less lavishly or not spending money on worldly pleasures, or it could be larger, like a water fast or, perhaps even better, an internet fast. Remember, God calls us each by name and has a different plan for each and every one of us. What he is calling you to do may very well be different that others and, as we saw with Isaac & Abraham, ""God will provide"". With his strength, we can do whatever he calls us too, no matter how difficult it may seem."

Author: Alex Coverdill

YC Chair of Hampden Chapter