Daily Reflection
June 30th, 2005

Deb Fortina

Academic Affairs
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Genesis 22:1b-19
Psalm 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Matthew 9:1-8

Genesis 22:1b-19 “…”Abraham, Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he answered…’I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly’…”

Psalm 115: 1-6, 8 and 9 “…I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.”

Matthew 9: 1-8…When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ’courage, child, your sins are forgiven.’…’Rise and walk’...”

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome - After the great fire in 64 A.D., which burning for days left two-thirds of Rome smoldering, many blamed Emperor Nero for starting the fire to allow for his own property expansion. But he shifted the blame from himself to the Christians, and then had them put to death for their “hatred of the human race.”

There are many teachings in the Word on the subject of Faith, and today’s readings are but two of those. About Faith, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Faith is a personal adherence of the whole man to God who reveals himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made through his deeds and words.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 176, Pg. 48)

Abraham became known as the Father of Faith, because God spoke to him and he responded favorably to all that the Lord asked of him. Today’s reading finds Abraham making his way up to a mountain spot where as God has asked him to do, he will sacrifice his son Isaac. He is moments from completing the act, when the Lord stops him telling him “do not do the least to him, I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” (Genesis 22:12) This point in the story leaves one breathless. But, of Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son, the John L. McKenzie, S.J. Dictionary of the Bible says, besides showing the great faith of Abraham, “it is also directed against the practice of human sacrifice, and this is probably its primary purpose in its original form.” (Dictionary of the Bible, Pg. 5)

I felt somewhat relieved to read this explanation. But, still I know my faith is not as strong as Abraham’s. When I asked what am I to learn today from this lesson, what does it say to me? I can’t help but think first Abraham had to know the Lord’s voice, i.e. he had to know this command came from the Lord. Going back to the definition from the catechism, Abraham’s intellect and will discerned God’s self-revelation. God had always been good to him, and in the realm of teachable moments, this isn’t a story you could forget. We, too, should pray for an increase in Faith that is complete with the wisdom and knowledge of doing God’s will. Ask to be able to take what is being revealed to heart more completely each day through our daily reading of God’s Word, and in many other ways God speaks to us. Sharpen our attentiveness and ability to listen, so that we too can become faithful to furthering God’s Kingdom.

Jesus was constantly teaching about faith, and in today’s story, he reveals His saving power to the people of his own town, when he sees the “faith” of the people who brought a man on a stretcher to him that was paralyzed. Of course like many of us, there were some who could not see with eyes of faith, and thought Jesus was taking on attributions he was not entitled to, by saying he forgave the man’s sins. Jesus continues to teach when he says, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”- -he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” (Matthew 9:5&6) Jesus knows all things and he knows our limitations. He operated on both the seeing and unseen level, and He was constantly revealing His teachings in both ways for all to see. All of humankind falls short of God’s Glory and therefore has need to be forgiven. Jesus came to show us the better way. Let us have faith in His teachings as so many before us have done. For those who could see with eyes of Faith they may have been able to see that the man had been healed with Jesus’ first pronouncement. But, for the rest of those standing there in that scene, Jesus took away the man’s paralysis and told him to pick up his stretcher and go home, which he did. Walk with the Lord, get to know His voice, ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen your faith and we will do mighty things all in the Name of the Lord.

Thank you Lord for revealing yourself to us today. Thank you too for the early Martyrs, whose lives we acknowledge today, may we have strength enough when our Faith is called into question. Amen

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