A blessing for all nations
“Because you did not withhold from me your own beloved son… in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing” (1st Reading, 2nd Sunday of Lent, Gen 22:1-18).
The sacrifice, which God demands of Abraham, seems absurd, inhuman, even scandalous. In spite of that, Abraham is willing to obey God’s wish and to give away what is most precious to him: his only child, Isaac. His only son is the fulfillment of God’s promise and the only hope for his own future. Through his heroic obedience, he become the “father in faith” for the three Abrahamic religions and a blessing for all peoples of the world. The same sacrifice, God asks of Abraham, God will offer Himself, when he allows Jesus to suffer death in order to give life to the world.
We live a time in the history of humanity when its very future is threatened by climate change, when massive inequality splits societies and endangers global peace, when the future of the church, of religious communities, of the next generation is uncertain. Worries about the future can easily turn us into anxious, narcissistic and egocentric persons.
As for Abraham, the challenge for the church today is to give witness to a life of dedicated commitment out of a total trust in God’s promise. It is not through position papers, pastoral programs and restructuring processes, but through a selfless service to the poor, the sick and marginalised, that the church will become a source of blessing and hope. The time of lent invites us to be less concerned about ourselves and to ask ourselves how we can become a blessing for others.
- The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too (Evangelii Gaudium 2).
- In a world, which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will. Amid a culture of indifference, which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer (Pope Francis, Christmas Homily 2015).
- I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center… If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life (Evangelii Gaudium 49).
- For whom am I a blessing? How can I become for others a source of joy, hope and love?
- Do I try to see and encourage what is good in the people I meet every day?
- When did I experience in my life that letting go and giving away something of myself, freely and joyfully, became a great blessing?
We are grateful for the holy Catholic Church because she shows me ways how to make my life fruitful for others.