Thursday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

God is always most concerned about what is going on inside of us. Which is why Jesus says to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” It would have been easy for Jesus to snap his fingers and heal the man’s paralysis, but that is not what he was most concerned about. Sometimes when a person has been sick a long time, there are resentments toward God and toward other people that have added to the misery of their illness. Jesus knew this, and took the opportunity to heal the man of those maladies as well. Saying to him, “Rise and walk” was merely incidental, and Jesus does that too. What we see in today’s Gospel reading is that our God longs to heal us from the inside out.

The incident with Abraham and Isaac feels like something else, though, doesn’t it? It almost seems as if this is a manipulative attempt on God’s part to see if Abraham was really on his side or not. But I don’t think that’s what God is doing here. I think this encounter shows us our God who is aching to pour out his blessings on us. If we will but give him everything, he will choose not to take it from us, but to work through our gifts and blessings to bless us even more. Listen to the promise he makes to Abraham: “I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing.” Finally, God provides the lamb for the sacrifice, which is a foreshadowing of the way that he himself will give his own Son, Jesus Christ, to be the lamb of sacrifice for our sins.

Just as Jesus healed the paralytic from the inside out, so God blesses Abraham from the inside out, giving him knowledge of a God who longs to provide blessing and healing for his people. In our offering today, we too can come to be fed from the inside out, by giving God whatever we hold most dear, knowing that he intends not to take it from us, but to use it to bless us beyond our wildest imaginings.

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