Lenten Reflection: Day 10

Today's website Lenten reflection comes from Fr. Robert Barron, head of Word On Fire. Father Barron talks about the relationship of the Mass, the Ultimate Sacrifice made by God, and the sacrifice Isaac was willing to make for God.


The story of Abraham forces us to come to grips with the deepest and most terrible truths of our faith. In this story, the most terrible moment is undoubtedly when Isaac observes that there is fuel and there is fire, but no lamb for the sacrifice. "God will provide," Abraham says, obviously devastated. As he raises the knife for the kill, an angel interrupts him and he is rewarded for his display of faith.

So what do we make of this? The story offers one of the most vivid literary displays of a principle that is found from beginning to end of the Bible: the law of the gift. The law of the gift says that the more you give your being away, the more your being increases; the more you cling to your being, the more your being decreases.

What is Abraham willing to give away? That which he loves the most. What is the result? The increase of his being.
Now when the first Christians looked back at this archetypal story from their Jewish tradition, they found a remarkable resonance with the story of Jesus. This early conviction of the Church is reflected in the juxtaposition of Abraham's sacrifice with the story of the Transfiguration.

In the account of the Transfiguration, we hear of another father and son: "A voice came from the cloud saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.'" Isaac was Abraham's beloved son, and Jesus is God the Father's beloved son.

What is the dynamic between this divine father and divine son? It is a play of giver and gift, sacrificer and sacrificed.

On Calvary, God the Father will lay wood upon the shoulders of his son and lead him up a hill where he will allow him to be sacrificed. The anguish in the heart of Abraham is nothing compared to the anguish in the heart of God the Father. He gave away what was dearest to him. And the result? The result is the law of the gift. When Jesus went into godforsakenness, when he was sacrificed by the Father, he brought back from the dead the gift of eternal life.

It is this awful and wonderful sacrifice that we celebrate at every Mass.

You can check out our Facebook page for today's reflection from Redeemed Online. Paul George gives some practical tips on how to really listen to God. Check out the video at www.facebook.com/cathedralwinona