By Father Thomas Rosica, CSB
TORONTO, MARCH 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Moriah. Sinai. Nebo. Carmel. Horeb. Gilboa. Gerizim. Mount of Beatitudes. Tabor. Hermon. Zion. Mount of Olives. Calvary. Golgotha. Mountains are often used in the Bible as the stages of important encounters between God and his people. Though we may have never visited the lands of the Bible, we are all familiar with these biblical mountains and the great events of our salvation history that took place there.
Today's Old Testament and Gospel reading take place on two important biblical mountains-- Mount Moriah and Mount Tabor. Both readings give us profound insights into our God and his Son, Jesus, who is our Savior. First let us consider the story of the sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham as portrayed in Genesis 22:1-19. The story is called the Akedah in Hebrew (Anglicization of the Aramaic word for "binding") and it easily provokes scandal for the modern mind: What sort of God is this who can command a father to kill his own son?
How many pagan voices were assailing Abraham at this moment? What would a contemporary father do if he were to be called on to sacrifice his only son to God? He would be thought mad if he even considered it -- and unfaithful to God as well. What a poignant story indeed! "Take your son, your only son Isaac whom you love ... and offer him as a burnt offering. ... So Abraham rose early in the morning." Because Abraham listened to the Lord's messenger, his only son's life was spared. The binding of Isaac, then, is a symbol of life, not death, for Abraham is forbidden to sacrifice his son.
What happens on Mount Moriah finds an echo in what happens atop Mount Tabor and Mount Calvary in the New Testament: The mounts Moriah, Tabor and Calvary are significant places of vision in the Bible. For on these peaks, we see a God who never abandons us in our deepest despair, terror and death. God is with us through thick and thin, through day and night.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Radiance in the Darkness
Biblical Reflection for 2nd Sunday of Lent 2009
Read all here.