The Lenten season continues with another story of testing. Last
Sunday, we heard the trial of Jesus in the desert. In this week's
First Reading, we hear of how Abraham was put to the test. The
Church has always read this story as a sign of God's love for
the world in giving His only-begotten son.
In today's Epistle, Paul uses exact words drawn from this story
to describe how God, like Abraham, did not withhold His only
Son, but handed Him over for us on the Cross (see Romans 8:32;
In the Gospel today, too, we hear another echo. Jesus is called
God's "beloved Son"-as Isaac is described as Abraham's
These readings are given to us in Lent to reveal Christ's identity
and to strengthen us in the face of our afflictions. Jesus is
shown to be the true son that Abraham rejoiced to see (see Matthew
1:1; John 8:56). In His transfiguration, He is revealed to be
the "prophet like Moses" foretold by God-raised from
among their own kinsmen, speaking with God's own authority (see
Deuteronomy 18:15, 19).
Like Moses, He climbs the mountain with three named friends
and beholds God's glory in a cloud (see Exodus 24:1, 9, 15).
He is the one prophesied to come after Elijah's return (see
Sirach 48:9-10; Malachi 3:1, 23-24). And, as He discloses to
the Apostles, He is the Son of Man sent to suffer and die for
our sins (see Isaiah 53:3).
As we sing in today's Psalm, Jesus believed in the face of His
afflictions, and God loosed Him from the bonds of death (see
Psalm 116:3). His rising should give us the courage to face
our trials, to off er ourselves totally to the Father-as He
did, as Abraham and Isaac did.
Freed from death by His death, we come to this Mass to offer
the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and to renew our vows-as His
servants and faithful ones.