Jesus Christ is Risen!! He is Risen Indeed. CalendarI have seen with my own eyes, as many of you have witnessed with me, the tomb IS empty.

This Easter was very special for our family because two of my grandchildren received their First Communion. They were beyond excited. My son told me that his daughter Maria woke up twice in the middle of night before Easter asking if she could start getting ready for Mass. My grandson Damian was so happy to step up to receive our Risen Lord's Body and Blood for the first time.

We are blessed to have an amazing Catechetics program for the children of our parish. It is headed by a retired Professor from the University of Steubenville, Barbara Morgan. We are surrounded by one of the most politically liberal and anti-religious areas in Michigan, yet the Catholic community here is thriving in the midst of it.

Where the gospel is preached and the teachings of the Church are lived in faithfulness, the world is blessed. We are living in troubling times, and many are called to make sacrifices.  The changes happening around us may seem new and distressing to many. However, studying the Bible intensely while writing studies for Genesis, Acts, 1st & 2nd Corinthians, and most recently Joshua, Judges and Ruth, I continue to see over and over again how God's plan has played out through history.

God the Father sacrificed the life of His only Son Jesus, even unto death on the Cross as we remembered last week on Good Friday. He also brought about Jesus' resurrection which we will celebrate for the next 50 days. I want to tell you about a historical figure who also was asked to make a tremendous sacrifice.

The following is a Bible Study lesson from Genesis Chapter 22 that I wrote for Catholic Scripture Study International. It is one of many studies I have written for this excellent program found at I hope you enjoy it.

Truth, Love And Sacrifice:
What does Easter and the life of Abraham have in common? Genesis Chapter 22; God tests Abraham.

Once when my son Jesse was very young I took we went
on a walk in the Swiss Alps near our chalet in Chesiéres. We lived there for a while and were trekking over to visit a friend in a neighboring village. Night had descended and snow was deep on the ground. When I set him in the white drifts only his head and shoulders were visible. I could see both excitement and fear in his little red face. I loomed large over my little son. CalendarOn part of the journey I let him walk himself. He struggled against the deep snow before he floundered and fell. I watched him struggle to regain his feet. He whimpered. I stepped back and encouraged him, "Get up Jesse, you can do it!"
My instinct was to reach down and pick him up. But it was good for him to learn, to build his strength, and to know dad was never far away. Many times I did pick him up and carry him, but on other occasion I let him struggle on his own.

The snow and darkness were no obstacles for me. I knew where we were going and had strength to easily plow through the snow. He kept looking up to me as I held his hand on the path. My little son had no idea where we were going or why we were going there; he only knew he was with dad so everything was OK. CalendarHis only concern was where he was going to next put his little foot. He knew dad was big, strong, and smart. He always knew that I loved him and always looked out for his good - even if I let him flounder in the snow so he could learn how to walk, and struggle, and to overcome.


The story is told of St. Teresa of Avila who had just tumbled from a horse and fallen into the mud. She looked up to God and said, "If this is the way you treat your friends God, it is no surprise that you have so few of them." Yet, it was not said always knowing that God was good and often tested her to make her more like himself. At moments, my son Jesse would have thought the same as I restrained my fatherly instincts, letting him struggle against the snow. Abraham, the friend of God, must have struggled too after losing one son and now walking down a path with knife in hand to kill the other.    


God was about to take Abraham down a difficult path, like I did with my son.

This chapter is a masterpiece, not only in it's dramatic story and pregnant theology, but also in its inner structure and the way it corresponds with other episodes in Abraham's life-not to mention parallels with the sacrifice of the ultimate Son of Promise. Reading this chapter as a drama of human tragedy and triumph is like rowing across a lake and enjoying what can be seen from the surface. But, don scuba gear and flippers and you will discover a whole new world under the surface. Let me whet your appetite for scuba diving by showing how this story is divinely written to correspond with other events in Abraham's life: 1) the agony when Abraham sent away his oldest son Ishmael and 2) Abraham's first agonizing decision to follow God and leave his family and homeland. Let's chart comparisons between these two chapters and Genesis 22. 


We're privy to information that Abraham does not know. We're told up front that Abraham is being tested. We have the benefit of hindsight as the sacred writer shows us the production notes, so to speak. When God called did Abraham brace himself defensively or melt like warm putty?  From his response it seems like the latter. The "father of faith and works" responded from the heart, "Here I am." He lets God know that he hears him and is ready to obey - to do from the heart whatever God asks. I use the work "ask" advisedly here because in the nuances of the Hebrew wording we see that God is not making a demand on Abraham-as in a command - but is actually making an entreaty. In Hebrew it can best be translated as "Please take your son . . ."


Abraham could respond to God's "Please" with a simple "No thank you" without violating any decree or incurring any guilt. Abraham had a free choice to do as God requested or to freely refuse. This makes his "Yes" to God all the more poignant! And it should remind us of another "Yes" from a daughter of Abraham two thousand years later that would change the world.


CalendarGod uses three phrases to describe Isaac: "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love." Remember that the number three is used for emphasis, to put something over the top. Isaac is not just Abraham's son, but he is Abraham's only son, he is Abraham's son whom he loves. This use of a triplicate demonstrates that God in heaven understands profoundly how important this lad is to the old man. In fact, the Holy Spirit inspiring the biblical text has waited until now to use the word love for the first time in the Bible.


Moriah was about 50 miles NE of Beer-sheba. The name Moriah is mentioned only twice in the Bible-Genesis 22 and 2 Chronicles 3:1. The latter verse pulls back the curtain to not only identify the location, but to give us a glimpse into the mind of God and why he sent Abraham all the way up here for the sacrifice!


Let's look at three related events that took place at Mount Moriah in Jerusalem roughly a thousand years apart. CalendarFirst, Abraham built an altar on which to sacrifice his beloved son of promise on Mount Moriah; second, a thousand years later Solomon builds his temple and offers animal sacrifices on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem; and third, a thousand years later Jesus, the spotless lamb of God was crucified here. Hopefully your eyes are opening to another set of parallels and correspondences between the two fathers who both loved their sons but still offered them as sacrifices on this mountain - predestined from the beginning of time. 


There is quite a bit more, read the entire study HERE.

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30 Second Mystery:
The Case: An elderly woman goes for a leisurely walk. Two young men in excellent physical condition are directly behind her, sprinting toward her.
No matter how how fast they run, they do not catch up with her.
 The Mystery: Why can't the men catch up to the woman & where are they?
Click HERE for hints. Answer: HERE.
Watch my granddaughters singing a first communion song. See how well
two year old Bella sings!!
(Song Written by Kristie & Bridget Gulock)