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Bulletin: February 28, 2021

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Second Sunday of Lent


Today’s first reading, known as “the Binding of Isaac,” refers to the way Isaac is bound and laid upon the wood of the altar of sacrifice. God directs Abraham to offer his son in sacrifice, killing the beloved son that had been a special gift to him and Sarah in their old age. How could God ask Abraham to do such a thing? Abraham offers no resistance, but in preparing for the sacrifice, Abraham may have agreed with the psalmist that he was “greatly afflicted.” Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans refers to Jesus as God’s beloved Son, which is also how God identifies Jesus to Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration. Afterward, Jesus tells those disciples not to mention the event to anyone until after his resurrection from the dead. The event, together with Jesus’ comments, leaves the disciples thoroughly confused.


HOW COULD GOD ASK ABRAHAM TO DO THAT?

Through the centuries, Christians and Jews alike have found the Binding of Isaac one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. Even though God intervenes to save Isaac, the whole episode strikes some readers as cruel. However, Abraham, the ultimate man of faith, raises no objection, offers no resistance as he simply goes about preparing for the trip and the sacrifice. `

Today’s other readings might help us see that text differently. In Mark’s description of the Transfiguration, Jesus’ clothes become white and shining, and Moses and Elijah appear with him. Moses was the great liberator and lawgiver who led the Jews out of bondage in Egypt and into the wilderness, forming them into the people of Israel by giving them th