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Second Sunday of Lent

March 12, 2006

Blessed Sunday!

Readings:
Genesis 22: 1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18 (Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac)
Psalm 116: 10, 15-19 “I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living”
Romans 8:31-34 (God is for us. Who can be against us?)
Mark 9:2-10 (the transfiguration)

God draws us into the inner life of the Trinity. This is revealed to us through the crucifixion.

The inner life of the Trinity is love (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 221). God the Father pours Himself out completely in love to the Son. God the Son returns that love in abundance to the Father. And that mutual love is so full of existence that it’s personified in the Holy Spirit. This love is absolutely perfect. It cannot be improved upon.

When Abraham took his beloved son Isaac up the mountain, prepared him for sacrifice and drew back the knife, God’s messenger stopped him, saying, “I now know how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” (Genesis 22:12). Abraham demonstrated his supreme love for God by giving up the one he loved and valued most on earth, his son, Isaac.

God turns this picture on its head. From the bright cloud on the mount of Transfiguration, the Father declares, “This is My Son, My Beloved. Listen to Him.” (Mark 9:7). There is nothing more dear, more valuable to God than His Beloved Son. Yet we read in Romans 8:32 that God did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over for our sake. Abraham demonstrated that he loved God more than his son by sacrificing Isaac. God demonstrates that He loves us as much as His Son (since His love is perfect and complete, He cannot love anyone or anything more than He loves His Son) by sacrificing Him for our sake on the Cross. This isn’t just any old love. This is the inner life of the Blessed Trinity; the perfection of the divine interchange of love. And it’s lavished on us!

What boggles the mind still further is that this love should be poured out on us even when we were still His enemies (see Romans 5:8). Abraham’s sacrifice, his supreme act of love was made to a perfect, holy, omnipotent God on Whom he was utterly dependent. There was some logic to that. But God’s sacrifice, His supreme act of love was made for sinners, cowards, traitors, rebels; for the very people who nailed Him to the tree. And He has no need of us whatsoever! He is perfectly happy and complete in and of Himself. He could simply stop maintaining us in existence and be done with it. Oh the extravagance of divine love! Oh the folly of the divine romance! This is the folly of God that St. Paul tells us is wiser than men. This is the weakness of God that is more powerful than men (see I Corinthians 1:25).

May we not compound our foolishness by refusing to take God at His Word when He extends His love to us.

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