2LB21. Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18. This reading tends to challenge my conception of God as the loving God. “Then God said (to Abraham): “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,” to offer “up as a holocaust.” Because Abraham was so absolutely obedient and utterly trusting in God, choosing God to be his God in spite of every reason to reject God, God through Abraham chooses the descendants of Abraham to be his Chosen People. God chooses those who choose him, in the good times and the bad.
Mark 9:2-10. In Mark 8:31, Jesus said to his disciples that he “must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.” Six days after Jesus made had that prediction, he was transfigured before Peter, James and John. Traditionally we understand the appearance of Moses and Elijah to indicate that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets. In Mark 1:15b&c, Jesus proclaimed: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.” The work of God in the Old Testament culminates in Jesus. In this Sunday’s gospel it is presumed that the voice from the cloud is that of God the Father announcing, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” The message of the glorious Transfiguration of Jesus as the Son of God would become clear later to the Apostles after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and his appearance to his disciples. God’s command that we listen to Jesus means that we must obey his Son just as Abraham had obeyed God.
Romans 8:13b-34. God had spared Isaac the son of Abraham but did not spare his own Son. So great is God’s love for us that he offered up his own Son so that we might have eternal life in heaven. The martyrs gave up their lives, because they knew that no matter how great were the worldly forces against them, in the end the victory was theirs.