Whenever I read what is sometimes called The Testing of Abraham, I feel conflicting emotions. I know that at the last moment God not only spared Abraham from sacrificing his only son Isaac, but God showered him and his myriad descendants with an abundance of blessings and rewards “…because you obeyed my command.”
Still, could I obey the command to kill and sacrifice a son? I hope I would say yes. But….
When we are challenged by doubts and dilemmas, we can overcome them knowing that we have been promised that we would not be tempted beyond our strength to resist. (1 Corinthians 10:13) We have been promised that God’s grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:19) Jesus told us that He would be with us always. (MT 28:20) Perhaps we can also find strength and comfort in Pope Francis’ change to the Our Father’s second last petition: “…do not let us fall into temptation…”
Matthew recounts Jesus telling a paralytic to have courage and that his sins are forgiven. Knowing that some scribes in the crowd deny his power to forgive sins and denounce Him as a blasphemer, Jesus challenges them asking whether it is easier to say that one’s sins are forgiven or to cure. To confound their doubts and denial He cures the paralytic, telling him to get up and walk, which he does. The “crowds” seeing this “…were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.”
Is Jesus also telling us that belief in Him because of his awesome power to cure is good, but to believe in his authority to forgive sins on His own testimony is a higher good?
May Jesus shepherd us through all doubts and trials and may He strengthen our faith and may the Passion of Jesus be always in our hearts.
Dan Carney, Passionist Associate