He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Each year, on the Second Sunday of Lent, we hear a synoptic account of the Transfiguration. Every third year we hear the Genesis account of Abraham's offering of his son -- "your only son whom you love" -- on Mount Tabor. Our scriptures and traditions see an immediate link between these incidents. Abraham has offered his only son; God's only son was offered in sacrifice for us.
Both passages are emotionally and spiritually overwhelming. They stagger the mind, leaving us reeling with what-just-happened? They clearly describe life-changing incidents in the life of Abraham, Peter, James and John; they are presented to us for the same reason. We have heard these stories; our lives must be marked by them.
But how do we begin to know what they mean? For that, the Church offers a third incredibly important passage of scripture, words from Romans 8: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Some people are skittish about "God for us." Fearful of being separated from coworkers, schoolmates, neighbors and acquaintances, of being singled out for special treatment, they ask, "Is God not for everyone?"
But this is no time for skittishness. The same readings have commanded us to "Listen to him." You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you!
Approaching Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter, we contemplate God's mercy. It is not a karma-like preference for good over evil; or a faint bias for mercy. It is immediate and demanding, "Listen to him!"
To every question the answer is given, "...will he not also give us everything else along with him?"
In Holy Week you will see something which will erase every doubt about Goodness from your mind. Have you been told human life is meaningless? That the Earth is only a lucky planet; and that human life, a happy accident? Have you been told that you don't matter, that nothing really matters? That there is no particular reason for your existence? In the face of atomic bombs, mass historical movements, catastrophes and plagues you may feel like that.
But in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you have seen that God is for us, and you have heard the divine command, "Listen to him."
Therein lies the purpose of your life. Enthrall to the Divine Command, like Abraham approaching Mount Tabor, you trust in a purpose which is beyond comprehension, and a God who is beyond human control or imagination.