Wednesday, July 01, 2009

To The Test

July 2, 2009

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Some time after these events, God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Ready!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” Genesis 22:1-2

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” -- he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” Matthew 9:4-6


Father in heaven, we pray that you will not put us to the test that you had for Abraham, Sarah and Isaac. Instead test us in how we treat our children lovingly, how we raise them supportively, and in how we allow them to follow their hearts out into the world freely. Holy Spirit, give us the fortitude to allow them the freedom to choose their own path in life wherever it leads, even if it is into places that may try our nerves. Allow us to support them and set them free from wherever they are so that they will return to us like the prodigal, with your spirit alive and arisen in them. We pray this in the name of your Son our Lord, Jesus Christ who gives us everything that is good. Amen.


Yesterday, we saw how Abraham turned his back on his illegitimate son Ishmael and the slave Hagar. Today, we see the same man ready to give up his other son Isaac.

After waiting for so long in order to have his sons, Abraham now shows that he is willing to give up both. After Abraham turned his back on Hagar and Ishmael out of selfish reasons, (or maybe because of that action), God puts him to the test with the life of Isaac.

What thoughts were going through Abraham’s head as he walked Isaac up to the sacrificial altar? Was he thinking about Ishmael and Hagar? Did he feel any guilt for banishing them from his camp? Did he feel guilt because he was about to commit murder in the name of the Lord? Did Abraham feel a double sense of loss and perhaps an extra obligation to follow God’s command because of how he treated the slave and her son?

In today’s Gospel from Matthew, Jesus knows what the scribes were thinking and was able to confront their thoughts. With these two lessons juxtaposed, I am left with a question: Didn’t God know what Abraham was thinking, too? Didn’t God know that Abraham would carry out the instructions? But with Abraham’s free will, the Lord wanted to see how Abraham would act.

God put Abraham to the test not to test his thoughts but to test his actions. However, the scribes tried to put Jesus to the test, NOT to test his actions but to test his motivations and power.


Every day is a test for us…a test about our desires and passions. What makes us get out of bed? What drives us to do the things we do? Hopefully, we can be more like Abraham who obeys God not only in his thoughts but also in his actions.

The recent coup in Honduras has a special group of people nervous. A group of volunteers are soon to embark on a mission to work at the Amigos de Jesus orphanage in the rural Santa Barbara district of this Central American nation. Yet the current political upheaval may have made these young adults as nervous as some of their parents (What? Me Worry?).

Some may choose to stay home because of this event. However, think also of the people in Honduras who have no choice but to stay and live in poverty through this crisis. Keep in your prayers the people of Honduras that God will arise in their lives through the outreach of these missionaries who have accepted the test to pick up their cross and follow Him to Macuelizo, the town where the orphanage is located. Pray also for the return of peace and the restoration of democracy in Honduras, Haiti and everywhere around the world.