3 April, Saturday — Learning to Part

Holy Saturday — Second Reading

Gn 22:1-18 Ps 16:5,8,9-10,11

God put Abraham to the test.

In my opinion, today’s reading is riddled with question marks and deemed to be controversial for many. There are tons of commentaries expounding on this story in Genesis, trying to explain why a merciful and all-knowing God would go to the extremes, just to test the faith of humanity through a human sacrifice. Whether it is meant to manifest Abraham’s faith to others, or as a prophetic foresight to Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, honestly – only God knows. My reflection for this passage isn’t focused on why God did what He did. As with numerous events in our lives, it is futile being obsessed with the whys and thus missing out on how we can apply the lessons in our earthly journey.

Abraham’s sacrifice of ‘your only one – whom you love’ is a stark contrast to humanity’s innate desire to acquire for eternity. We long to hold close the things/people we love for as long as possible, sometimes to the extent of turning that attachment into idolatry. To be separated from a loved one would be the greatest nightmare that all of us will have to navigate at some point in time. Yet, most, if not all of us, wouldn’t think of our lives as simply being ‘born on this earth only to die later on’. But that is simply the reality.

Personally, the story of Abraham is a reminder of my attachment/idolatry to certain things/people in my life. I was born after all four of my grandparents were gone. With my parents in reasonably good health, I’m thankful that life has spared me of heartbreaks from the departure of loved ones thus far; except for the few occasions where I had to nurse from the breakups with my ex-girlfriends (chuckles). My current greatest love/idol would probably be my 11 year-old dog Chewie, whom I’m most attached to. Each passing day is a step closer to the eventual confrontation of my fear of separation. Having seen friends around me dealing with the loss of their dogs over the past few years only increased that fear – most of them could hardly move on. As much as I dread the thought of it, and rather than being crippled by the fear of it, I’m trying to spend more time with him to minimize any regrets I may have in future. Preparation for the eventual in terms of emotional pre-work is perhaps another way of dealing with the future loss. Having read Friar Jack Wintz book on ‘Will I See My Dog in Heaven?’ gave me lots of assurance as well. Although nobody could really say for sure if their beloved pets will be waiting for them in heaven, it is a nice thought to have that God would desire for all creatures in eternity. As Pope Francis puts it, even amid the tragedy of loss, even when torn by separation, the conviction arises in the heart that everything cannot be over, that the good given and received has not been pointless. There is a powerful instinct within us which tells us that our lives do not end with death. Hence, rather than saying goodbye, let’s cultivate the ‘see you again’ mindset for the attachments in our lives whom we find hard to let go.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)

Prayer:  Father God, grant us the courage to deal with the loss in our lives and heal our broken hearts. May you shower your comfort upon us and give us the peace that transcends all understanding. Amen.     

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for being with us through life’s rollercoasters.    

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