Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sunday Gospel Reflection, February 25, 2018: If God is for us, who can be against us?

Why is it such a challenge to accept God’s path 
in times of uncertainty?

   Accepting God’s will for him does not appear to have been an issue for the patriarch Abraham in the Book of Genesis.  When Abraham is called upon by God, he responds Here I am! and does not hesitate to take his son Isaac to the land of Moriah to sacrifice him according to God’s instructions.  Recall that Isaac is Abraham’s guarantee of continuation after death in the form of descendants.  Yet, although he does not, and indeed cannot understand God’s plan or know how God will follow through on his promise, Abraham is ready, waiting for God to speak, ready to listen no matter how difficult the task he is given might be.  Like the psalmist in Psalm 116, Abraham believes, even when he is greatly afflicted, and does not hesitate to obey the will of God.

   When, in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up onto a high mountain and is transfigured before them, flanked by Elijah and Moses, the apostles don’t know what to think.  Jesus has just predicted his own suffering and death, and now this!  But voice from the cloud gives them a clue, at least. This is my beloved Son. Listen to him, it says.  Listen, even though you don’t really understand, even if it won’t make sense until later.  Listen.  Abraham’s story tells us that God will provide the sacrifice, and in the person of Jesus, God does just that. It is, after all, a question of trust, as Paul tells the Romans, for He who did not spare his own Son will also give us everything else along with him.  We may not understand such generosity, but we must remain open to it, and trust.

   Our faith is not necessarily complete in the moment we exercise it, for our hearts need to be fully open and ready to understand.  In times of great uncertainty, we need still to say, Here I am, remaining totally present to God so that God might be present to us.  We must be open and ready to do whatever God asks of us, to obey – from the Latin, ob-audire, to lend an ear – walking with faith even as we are challenged to understand God’s plan for us.  For if God is for us, who can be against us?

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
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