2021-02-282nd Sunday of LentRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min

Did God really ask Abraham to sacrifice His Son? Would God ask a parent to sacrifice one of their children?

Offering up a child to appease one of the gods was happening in the primitive society in which Abraham lived. Did Abraham want to show God that he was as religious as his pagan neighbors?

Or was Abraham mistaken about God`s intentions? Did Abraham know what God was saying to him and misinterpret God`s words to him?

The Muslims tell the same story in the Koran. But their story involves Abraham and Ishmael. Ishmael was Abraham`s child by the slave woman named Hagar.

Muslims trace their ancestry back to Abraham and Hagar. Jews trace their history back to Abraham and Sarah. Both groups claim Abraham as their father in faith.

These stories bear a striking resemblance to our own Christian story. Did God ask for the life of his only begotten Son? Did Jesus have to die for us? I have wrestled with the answer to that question for a long time.

Somehow, that mystery involves the Trinity. We believe in one God. We believe in three persons in one God - not 3 separate entities. One God who came to earth as a human being. Our God, the only God, offered up Himself for us - He offered up His very life for us. Let me repeat that. It is not that God offered up his Son as if his Son lived apart from him. God offered up Himself. To be true followers of Jesus Christ we must do the same with our lives.

So many parents sacrifice their lives for children who have disabilities. I have seen it is people who sacrifice their lives for the poor in our own country and in distant lands. I have seen it in people who lay down their lives for just causes in the world - for people who fight for peace unselfishly and lose their lives in the process.

The story of Jesus Christ is the story of giving your life for God and neighbor. It is the story of many of our saints, for example, Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

And so this story is not the story of offering up the life of someone else but it is the story of offering to God what is most precious to us - our very own lives. We are told that we must lose our life in order to gain the world. We must die to self before we can truly live a life of happiness and fulfillment.

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