Saturday, March 3, 2012

Second Sunday of Lent

There was a savage practice in the old tribes of Palestine; they sacrificed their children as a way to please their gods.  These methods were really horrible, to the point that they sometimes burnt the children alive. The chosen ones for that barbaric practice were the first-born sons, because in them one could find not only the love of the father but victory over sterility. It seems that there would be a supreme act of pain in that offering; to the point of forcing the gods to commit so that they would also fulfill their part of the covenant: To protect and bless those offering the sacrifices.

That is why we often see in the Bible the prohibition of sacrificing children: 
         Let there not be found among you anyone who causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire, or practices divination, or is a soothsayer, augur, or sorcerer, or who casts spells, consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead. (Deuteronomy 18:10-11)
        Or the father who sacrificed his daughter in Judges 11:30-40,
        Or Acaz who burnt his son in 2 Kings 16:3,
        Or the Manasés in 2 Kings 21:6.
In this context and in this specific situation Abraham had thought that God was asking him to go this far to please Him. He was ready to obey.
It is easy for us to horrify ourselves and to gossip about the savage practices of other societies, especially killing a child in order to assure the prosperity of parents.  Butthis is what we see often; a college student in the middle of her studies becomes pregnant; what do we do? Abortion. The baby is sacrificed in a very savage way because of the personal plan of the mother as we see, we are still in Canaan.
In the Gospel we have another clue on the topic of fathers and sons. This time it is about the Father with a capital F and the Son with a capital S. The word Father is the word that finalizes the work of our redemption. When God is my Father, my Dad, my Abba all the distance between Him and me is gone! God is not my competitor, my obstacle, an abstract idea or energy force without a name; He is not a thought or a memory of another culture, or an ideology to be used to dominate me. No, when Jesus introduces me to the way He loves His Father and the way the Father loves me, the lie of the serpent becomes evident; the devil tries to get me to stop trusting in The Creator.
This is why Saint Paul reminds us in Rom 8:31-32 If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all, how will He not also give us everything else along with Him? so with this certainty in our souls there is no room for the lies of the enemy, there is no room for the seductions of the world or the pleasures of the flesh which lose their attractions.
Oh Glory of God who is Father and who sent His Son to show us His face so that in Him He can restore His image that was lost because of sin.
Lord, I offer up this time for the desire to know and love you more intimately. I know my faith is the door to knowing you better so I ask you to increase my faith so I can see your presence in my life more clearly.
Lord, increase my faith in my prayer and in your response.
Lord Jesus, as I hear the voice of your Holy Spirit calling me, I ask you for the grace to respond generously. I know I need you yet I get lost in the business of my day and you are often forgotten. Have mercy on me and grant me the strength to always say yes to your sweet voice, Amen.

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