2nd Sunday of Lent


Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18
Romans 8:31-34
Mark 9:2-10


I am presently in our Adelaide community. Back in 1968, when I was here as a young student, a famous artist made a new beaten copper altar for the Church.  It showed the hand of God with a dagger, coming down from above, to stab the Lamb who was bleeding!

While good art can be confronting, I found sitting in front of this altar for the Eucharist to be alienating.  Symbolically powerful, certainly, but, for me, profoundly conflicting.   Good art perhaps, but it seemed bad theology -God did to Jesus what Abraham did not do to Isaac.  

In our Sunday readings today, all three speak of God sacrificing his own Son, giving him up for us.  We read of Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac and Paul, reminding us of God not sparing his own Son.  In the Transfiguration gospel, as Jesus is about to begin his final journey to Jerusalem, God reiterates what he said to Jesus at baptism -my beloved son.

I cannot understand the Genesis reading of God testing Abraham by ordering him to sacrifice Isaac.  Perhaps the Hebrew spin doctors who wrote the story were trying to make Abraham look good. Perhaps Abraham actually did want to sacrifice Isaac, and it was God who intervened to stop him.  Whatever!

Either way, God did not send his Son to be murdered but to bring us life. It is the crime of our world that we did, and do, the murdering of the innocent through abuse, neglect, violence, trafficking and war.  Look only at the Middle East.  It is God who sent his Son to break this cycle of violence, not perpetuate it.  It is God whose heart is broken and shattered on our hearts of stone.

This Lent, again, we hear the voice of God, saying, as he did on the mountain of the Transfiguration – This is my Son, when ….  when …. when will you listen to him!!!

Fr Tom McDonough CP the Parish Priest and Community Leader at St.Paul’s, Glen Osmond, SA