Second Sunday of Lent
Points to note
The readings for Lent are structured as a journey, a journey of faith not just for the catechumens but also for all the faithful as we prepare to renew our baptismal cleansing at Easter. The journey begins with the testing of Jesus in the desert on the first Sunday of Lent.
This Sunday, we see the sacrifice made by our ancestor in faith. To illustrate this, I have used the first reading. The story of the sacrifice of Isaac is very central to our faith and forms one of the readings for the Easter Vigil. I have actually included the full text of the story instead of the summarised one in the Missal. It should be read as a story and do not hesitate to dramatise if you so wish.
If the concept of Lent has not yet been discussed with the children, use last week’s leaflet to do so.
The Alleluia is not sung during the season of Lent. There is no Praise and Glory to God, the Gospel Acclamation used during Lent, as the Gospel is not read. For the same reason, there is no opening dialogue.
A Reading from the Book of Genesis
God put Abraham to the test, “Abraham, Abraham,” he called. “Here I am,” he replied. “Take your son,” God said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.”
Early the next morning, Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started his journey to the place God had pointed out to him. On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there; we will worship and come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it in Isaac, and carried it in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together. Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. “Father,” he said. “Yes, my son,” Abraham replied. “Look.” He said here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” Then the two of them went on together.
When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood. Then he stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. “Abraham, Abraham,” he said. “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not raise your hand against the boy,” the angel said, “Do not harm him, for now I know you love God. You have not refused me your son.” Then looking around, Abraham saw a ram caught by his horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son.
The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. “I swear by own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.”
This is the Word of the Lord
If you have to explain the concept of Lent to the children, this discussion should be kept short, as the bulk of the discussions would have taken place before the reading.
Discuss the reading and bring out again interesting parts of the story:
· Abraham was so obedient to God that he did not question God when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac. But discuss how he would have felt. Also, discuss how the children would have felt if they found out that God had asked their Dads to do such a thing. But be careful that you do not make this too traumatic a topic to some children.
· Abraham trusted God that he went to the place God has shown him without knowing where it was. Note that he has to carry his own wood even though the place he went to actually had wood there. Note that we often go on a journey of faith without knowing where we will end up.
· Abraham’s heavy heart was contrasted with that of the innocence of Isaac. Discuss how Abraham must have felt when Isaac asked him about where the offering is to be.
· God had mercy! It was not a sacrifice of Isaac that he wanted but a sacrifice of obedience and love from Abraham. Discuss that in this journey of Lent, we begin with a similar sacrifice.
You may wish to discuss what kind of sacrifices that we could make. Emphasise that we do not make sacrifices and suffer for the sake of suffering but to be with Jesus and all his friends in the world today in their sufferings.