Today's 1st Reading is one of the most famous pieces of scripture of all time. It tells the story of Abraham, who, in response to God's call, prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Of course, God intervened, and seeing Abraham's loyalty, blessed him and his descendants.

What is most striking about this reading is the length Abraham is willing to go to for God. I don't think there are very many parents in the world today who would even consider for a second giving up their child, even if God Himself told them to. Of course, times have changed, but nevertheless, the magnitude of Abraham's devotion to God is striking. This devotion reappears throughout Scripture, including in Matthew 4:18-22, where Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John leave their livelihoods as fishermen behind to follow Jesus.

We may not be as devoted as Abraham or as willing as Peter, Andrew, James or John to put everything else on hold if God calls us. But yet we can still be devoted to God. If these great servants of God sacrificed so much for God, surely we can sacrifice at least a little! Surely we can go out of our way to thank God for all He has given us! Surely we can take time to help those in need. When combined together, all the little things we sacrifice for God-all our responses to his calls-add up to something just as striking as Abraham's sacrifice.

And it is for a good reason that we make those sacrifices! Because the God we sacrifice to has wondrous power and does wondrous things! One of the many miracles performed by Jesus throughout his ministry on Earth is related in the Gospel. The healing of the paralytic is one of the strongest examples of Jesus using his power, given to him by God, to raise up the lowliest of the low. And yet what is most striking about this piece is the scribes, who doubt Jesus until he is forced to prove to them that he does in fact have such great power-the power to forgive sins. These scribes are a marked contrast to Abraham, who believes and trusts so strongly in God. We are reminded of our faith and the importance of maintaining it.

It may seem that the Gospel is not relevant to our own lives-we do not have the power to forgive sins or to heal paralytics. But we do have great power-the power to help others. Even if we do not have the impact that Jesus had on those with debilitating illness or injury throughout the Gospel, we can still have a positive impact on the lives of others. Whether it's helping out a friend or someone we barely know, acknowledging a homeless person, or volunteering, we all can do something that means something to someone.

If there is any general message to take away from these readings, it is this: We may not be as devoted as Abraham. We may not be as powerful as Jesus. But we can still sacrifice for God and serve for Jesus.

by Jonathon Marek, Parishioner, Weekend Parish Office Staff Member, & Whitney Young High School Student

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St. Josaphat Tots Playgroup
Wednesday, July 22
11 - 12 pm
Lower Meeting Room 

We will have toys for the little ones and caffeine for you! Parents/caretakers of babies & little ones, we know you need to get out of the house.  Join us for some adult conversation and playtime for the kids!  Bring a friend!