Any robust religion includes sacrifice in some form or another. Self-centeredness and self-absorption are the enemies of spiritual growth, and a living relationship with God, however we understand God. Sacrifice can open us up to God in a powerful way. Our first reading includes a complex animal sacrifice that surely seems strange to us, but in the world of Abram, would not have seemed nearly so strange – animal sacrifices, even trances and visions were part of the warp and woof of the religious world view. Rather than trying to enter the scene, as we might do with a Gospel story, with this reading, try praying about the growth over centuries from animal sacrifices to Christ offering himself, to our offering ourselves with Christ in the Eucharist, a holy and living sacrifice.

Thursday, February 25, 2016