Summary: It may be possible that we have false gods in our life; and we may have a false idea of the One True God. But this lenten season demands us to let God Himself correct and transform our faith into a life-saving one.
The Film „Gangs of New York“ revolves around a battle between two political parties – Tammany Hall and Native Americans –to gain the power of the city. It is a bloody battle in which many are injured, many lose their possessions and still more lose their lives. It is the result of an attempt to deify the false ideal of power. It would not be wrong to admit that human sacrifice in different forms still exists in our world and that many lives are being daily sacrificed to the false gods that we have set up.
The story of Abraham that we read in Genesis 22.1-18 narrates the abolition of human sacrifice which was widely practised by Israel’s neighbours. The story presents Abraham as a believer who lets his faith be corrected and improved. The correction of his faith in human sacrifice has many advantages. The transformation of his faith is not a failure of his faith; on the contrary, it strengthens and refines his faith. And he proves his absolute trust on and obedience to God through this transformed faith. That gives Isaac his life back. Moreover, Abraham gives a new orientation to faith in the biblical history through the abolition of human sacrifice. Finally, he changes the image of God from a blood-thirsty to a life-promoting God.
Often many people are sacrificed to false gods. War, Terrorism, Sport and careerism to reach upto the top are all ready examples. Sometimes the lives of children are sacrificed to the desires of their parents. In a fun loving society which is fed upon competition and materialism, one is not any more surprised, when people suffer from bodily and mental sicknesses caused by stress and anxiety. But should it be so? We can draw a good lesson from the change that takes place in the faith of Abraham. Just like Abraham changed his life-sacrificing faith into a life-saving faith, we must also pluck up courage to examine the false economic and political gods we worship, so as to build up in ourselves a faith that makes a life of joy, peace and happines possible.
The false gods rob us of our joy, our right orientation, our peace, our good relationships and our life. When we free ourselves from the false gods and when we begin to live by the right values and practices, which the gospels teach us, the joy and peace come back to life. It may be true, for the reasons grounded in the model of our societies, that we are not any more able to distinguish between the life-robing and the life-saving faith. That is why the development or the conversion of the faith of Abraham, which the Bible presents to us, is very important.
The Church places before us a good example in the story of Abraham and invites us to undertake a similar change in our faith and morality. Then we become the milestones in the transformation of our collective faith which in turn brings about a new form of life and a new society. The lenten season demands a conversion from us. It may be possible that we have false gods in our life; and we may have a false idea of the One True God. But this lenten season demands us to let God Himself correct and transform our faith into a life-saving one. The angel was there to help Abraham. But this biblical story plays for us the role of the angel.