Sunday, July 5, 2015
Abraham and Isaac pointing to Christ: Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, July 2nd, 2014
(Listen to this homily here).
Genesis 22, the chapter from which our first reading came, is one of the most important readings in the whole Bible. I’d put it in the top five readings in the entire Old Testament.
This chapter contains the testing of Abraham and it is chalk full of allusions to Jesus Christ. Theologians call something in the Old Testament that points to something in the New Testament—especially Jesus—a type. Isaac, then, is a type of Christ.
Now imagine Abraham and Isaac walking up the mountain. Many of you may imagine an old man walking with a young boy who is carrying a few sticks. This image needs to be shattered! Remember, “…Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders…” Think about how much wood it would take to make a big enough fire to consume an entire animal! Rather than a young boy, Isaac was probably in the prime of his life, carrying the wood for the sacrifice.
Isaac carrying the wood up a mountain…who does that sound like? Of course—Jesus. In fact, Isaac walked up the same place as Jesus! Mount Moriah and Mount Calvary are actually part of the same mountain region. In Jerusalem today, the great Muslim shrine of the Dome of the Rock is supposedly housed over the rock on which Abraham was tested. A few blocks away is the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was crucified. Both Isaac and Jesus were innocent men, freely obeying the will of their father.
Here’s one final example of a type in our first reading. Abraham, the father of Isaac, is a type of God the Father. Isaac is Abraham’s beloved son—his firstborn of Sarah that he was prepared to offer up in sacrifice. This is precisely what God did with His beloved Son.
I would encourage you to reread Genesis 22 sometime today. In many ways it points directly to the love God has for us through His son.