Scripture: 1st Reading: Gen22,1-19; Resp. Psalm: Ps116,1-6,8-9; Gosp. Accl.: 2Cor5,19; Gospel: Mt9,1-8
Generousity and open handedness are two values that the word of God urges on believers to imbibe and put into practise. When this value is practised, most times, it is very easy to be generous when one has plenty to spare. But the true test of generousity lies in those times when we do not have enough. The true value of open handedness comes out in bold relief when our lives depend on what we are called to give up. At this point, our generousity becomes perfect charity, that ability to give and give and give until it hurts! Our giving here becomes a pure, holy, unblemished sacrifice that goes straight to the throne of God's mercy and opens doors of blessing unto us.
Abraham was given the best gift he had ever sought for all his life. Yahweh gave him a son on whom his name depended. This boy brought joy and gladness into Abraham's life. Abraham saw the continuation of his lineage through Isaac. He saw the fulfillment of the promise through this miracle child of his old age. This was Yahweh's perfect gift for which Abraham was grateful.
It must have bewildered Abraham when Yahweh asked him to offer this child as a sacrifice to Him on mountain that He would point to him. We can see here a repeat of the call of Abraham in which Yahweh told him to go from his country to the land that He would show him. Yahweh was to be on the driver's seat, not Abraham. Like the time He called him and all through his life, Abraham gave Yahweh the honour to lead him, even in this new test of his faith.
Abraham obeyed God and prepared to sacrifice his only son. He was not dramatizing. Abraham was intent on carrying out and obeying the will of Yahweh his God. "God gave, God wanted back, blessed be the name of the Lord", he must have reasoned. But God had other plans. God was not interested in taking the life of Isaac, but in testing the fidelity of Abraham. Yahweh wanted to know if Abraham was ready out of love for Him, to part with the greatest treasure of his entire life. Abraham passed the test.
In today's gospel, our Lord saw the faith of the people in his powers to heal the paralytic. He saw that the people understood that His presence meant a change of fortunes for this paralytic, the beginning of the rest of his life. For the paralytic to receive so great a gift, our Lord gave him two healings: spiritual and physical; He forgave him his sins and then healed him of his paralysis.
The deeds of God in these two instances elicit in us sentiments of wonder and gratitude. But more than this, they demonstrate to us the nature of God: that God never disappoints the faith of those who trust in Him. These two instances teach us that we need to know that no gift is too important to give to God. They teach us about the value of faith in God that should be the foundation of our lives.
Let us pray: Lord our loving God, you are the giver of all the good gifts that we have. Our lives are your gifts to us. Give us generousity of heart to return this gift back to you. Open our hearts to your infinite love for us. Make us obedient to your will. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.