Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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The Old Covenant begins with the faith of Abraham, our father in faith. The New Covenant begins with the faith of Mary, our mother in faith. Our own personal covenant with God begins with our own faith. There are no road maps for the journey of faith. But there are those who have made the journey before us. From their experience we can learn the essentials of the journey. Let us see if we can learn something about faith from Abraham, our father in faith.

When Abraham was 75 years old he was living peacefully with his wife Sarah and his relatives in Haran. Then God said to him, “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house for the land I will show you.” God didn’t tell him where this land was, why he was going or for how long. He just said, “Leave.” And Abraham did not ask any questions. He just went. He went in faith. He started out on a journey of faith into the unknown.

After Abraham had been on the road for 24 years, and now was 99 and his wife Sarah was 90 and sterile, God said to him, “Here is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations…I will bless your wife Sarah, and give her a son by you.” Abraham laughed, thinking to himself, “Is a child to be born of a man 100 years old and Sarah will have a son at the age of 90?” When Sarah hears about it she also laughs. And God must have been laughing with them because a year later at the time promised Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham. And Abraham named him Isaac, which in Hebrew means laughter.

Finally, God put Abraham’s faith to the greatest test of all. “Abraham, take your son, your only son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain I will point out to you.” Abraham was promised that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore and now he is commanded to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham did not ask any questions. He went in faith into the unknown.

Rising early the next morning he set out with his son Isaac. He loaded the wood on Isaac and carried in his own hand the fire and the knife. Then Isaac asked, “Father, here are the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” “My son,” Abraham replied, “God will provide.” When they had arrived at the place God had pointed out Abraham built an altar, arranged the wood on it, bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Then Abraham seized the knife to kill his son. But before he could do so an angel called out, “Abraham, Abraham, do not raise your hand against the boy, do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused your only son. Then looking up Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. And he offered it up in place of his son.

What Abraham is teaching us about faith is clear and very important. Life is a journey of faith into the unknown. On this journey our faith will be severely tested. But we can laugh because God will provide. We do not know what tomorrow holds but we do know Who holds tomorrow. The problem is we want to know. We have a lust for knowledge; we want to know all the answers. But often the answers are existential, that is they are not present now but they will appear in the future.

Each person is a mystery that only God knows. There are in the world today more than six billion mysteries who are interacting with each other and doing their own thing thereby producing a mystery of mysteries. How foolish to think that we can know this mystery of mysteries. And how much more foolish it is to think that we can control it!

“God will provide,” what a wonderful tessera that is for today. So today when you are troubled and worried about something happening just say, “God will provide,” and laugh. And God will be laughing with you.




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