Faith Is Total Obedience

Thursday of Week 13 in Ordinary Time - Cycle I

Gen. 22:1-19 & Mt. 9:1-8

We are children of Abraham. That is why, In the Eucharistic Prayer, we refer to him as “our father in faith”. For him faith meant much more than believing that there is a God - it meant turning his whole life over to God in complete obedience and trust.

Extraordinary promises were made by God to Abraham: he would be the father of a great people through his legitimate heir and he was told this even after he and his wife were long past the time for becoming parents. He was 99 and his wife 90! And she was barren. Eventually Isaac was born. His trust in God was rewarded but just when it appeared that all had happened as promised, Abraham was told by God that he had to sacrifice his son. Not only would obeying such a command render impossible God's promises but also Abraham found the idea of the sacrificial killing of babies which was practised by a sect of his day abhorrent. Surely we are entitled to think that he must have been very confused? And why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son? Was it because He wanted Abraham to atone for his lack of faith, when he had fathered a son with his wife's maid instead of waiting for God to fulfil His promise, by demonstrating that he would now be obedient to God's will? Heroically and in total obedience he prepared to carry out the sacrifice of his son. We know how the story ended: God did not require the death of Isaac but Abraham had been put to the test and passed it.

We marvel at the obedience and love of Abraham for God, but how much more ought we to marvel at the, generosity of God; He spared Abraham's son, but He did not spare His only Son to save us! Abraham believed for he was willing to accept the fact that God could do what seemed impossible.

The scribes in the Gospel did not have that kind of faith. They had witnessed the wonderful things Jesus could do, yet they still would not believe that sin could be forgiven through the humanity of Jesus. If they had the faith of Abraham, our father in faith, they would have realised that nothing is impossible to God.

Holy Spirit, help us to realise how important is the gift of faith, and that we are nothing without it. Increase our faith so that our trust and love in what God can do for us knows no bounds.