“My Son, you are the sacrifice!” God

IMG_539814th Sunday in Ordinary Time

9 July 2017  ~ St. Monica & St. John the Evangelist Catholic Communities

Zechariah 9:9-10 ~ “See, your king shall come to you, a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.

Psalm 145 ~ I will praise your name forever, my king and my God..

St. Paul to Romans 8:9-13 ~ You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Gospel according to Matthew 10:37-42 ~ At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

                  Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

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2000 years before Jesus, Abraham was asked to carry a pretty heavy cross even before he knew what crucifixion was. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac who was just about 12 years old. Isaac was more than willing to go with his Father alone, like any child would love to go on an adventure with their Dad. He just didn’t know he would be the one who would be killed!

When they got to the place of sacrifice after three exciting days, Isaac was confused. His father said very little and there was something missing. The “little one” was beginning to understand hidden things. Abraham told the servants that he and the boy were going up the mountain to pray and that they would come back to them.

So Abraham put the wood for the fire on Isaac’s shoulders while he carried the fire and the knife. Isaac labored and was burdened with his yoke. Abraham also labored and was burdened with an emotional and spiritual yoke. Have you ever felt burdened like this?

As the wood shifted on Isaac’s shoulders and he nearly fell over, he called out, “Father!” Abraham answered, “Yes my son.” Thinking that his father might be forgetful in his old age, Isaac asked, “Dad, here is the wood on my shoulders and you have the fire. Where is the sacrifice?”

Abraham answered, “My son, God will provide.”

Isaac trusted his father, but must have been paralyzed with fear when his father started to tie his hands and feet and place him on the wood he carried. This was terrifying, but at the last second, his father lowered the knife to plunge into his son’s heart.

He unties Isaac. And then grabs a ram caught in the thicket.

Fast forward 2000 years. It is the Passover feast when all Jews sacrifice and feast on a lamb. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is caught in the thicket in the Garden of Gethsemane. The burden of his emotional cross is crushing. Many of his disciples have abandoned him, one has betrayed him, and his closest friend is about to deny him three times. His physical cross would be horrifying.

Jesus cries out on that very dark night, “Father!” God answers, “Yes my beloved son.” Jesus questions God, “Father, here is the wood of the Cross I am about to carry and here is the fire of the people’s anger… Where is the sacrifice?”

God, the Father answered, “My beloved Son, you ARE the sacrifice.”

Jesus answered, “Okay. Not my will, but your will be done.”

Let us ask ourselves if our burdens and weariness come from anxieties and worries over worldly attachments. God does provide a lighter load in the shape of a cross, but Mercy and love for others lightens the load.

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