My Dear sisters and Brothers! I hope that the story of Jimmy can direct our meditation in such a way that the first reading about Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son Isaac will reveal to us his faith in God which was grounded in his filial trust in the Almighty. Many times I have heard people questioning God’s goodness as he demanded such a sacrifice from Abraham. However what God was asking of Abraham can be compared to what Jimmy’s father asked of: trust me. God knew what he was doing. God loved Isaac even more than Abraham did. God did not want to take a life away. The whole event had a purpose. We read at the beginning of the passage: ‘God put Abraham to test.’
St Peter, who was one of the three disciples witnessing the Lord’s Transfiguration, who was also one of the same three disciples invited to keep vigil when Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, wrote in his Frist Letter: ‘through your faith, God’s power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold – only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire.’
Why is faith more precious than gold? Because as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘It is impossible to please God without faith.’ What pleases God so much is that by our faith in him we become also an inspiration to other people. From our faith, purified by many trials, other people draw support and encouragement. In the Scriptures Abraham is called ‘our father in the eyes of God’ because his commitment and his faithfulness to God is the school of faith for the faithful. In the same way we are called to tell the glory of the Lord by living faith when we are on the top of our lives, like the Apostles were on the Mount of Transfiguration, but also when our life is immersed in such a darkness, like Abraham when he was about to sacrifice his son Isaac or the Apostles in the Gethsemane, that the only thing making sense are the words spoken by the Heavenly Father from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Listen, my Sisters and Brothers, to Jesus when your worries and fears tell you something different.
Some people say that they don’t need God when things are going OK. That’s why they stay away from God. However what they miss is establishing and developing a relationship with God. The relationship based on faith and trust which are instilled in us by the Holy Spirit. When testing and tribulation come our way, like Jimmy, we can look into God’s face and see in this Holy Face the reason to let go what we may determine as important or even necessary to keep us going and happy. From the tires and testing we emerge as a gift of faith to other and as a hymn of glory to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.