Commentary on the Gospel of

Tomás J. Marín Mena
God's will and the sacrifice of life

Both the account in the book of Genesis, the sacrifice of Abraham, and the account in the Gospel of Matthew, the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane, have one thing in common: obedience to the will of God. In Gethsemane Jesus feels sadness, because he sees death close, but prays to God: ''My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will''. Jesus seeks God's will above all else, but like any of us he does not want to suffer. However, his faith is such that he subordinates his feelings (even his suffering) to the will of God. Does that mean that God wants our suffering?

            The Gospel does not preach suffering but the redemption of suffering out of love. God's will is that we free others from suffering, even if we have to suffer ourselves. God does not want us to suffer but sometimes obedience to his will, which is concretized by taking the side of those who suffer the most, can imply the total donation of our own life, as was the case with Jesus: ''Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends'' (John 15:13). The key is that I sacrifice myself for others and that I never sacrifice others for myself.

            In Genesis 22 is the great revolution in the Judeo-Christian worldview. God does not want us to offer a human being as a sacrifice to God: God tells Abraham not to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gn 22:12), as happened with other religions in Abraham's time. God wants us to give others and Him our own lives as the only pleasant sacrifice (Rom 12:1). The great challenge of our existence is that the important ones are people, not me, and that my life is a gift for everyone.

            O Lord, change our mentality and our heart, so that we do not harm others but are a gift to those who need it most.


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