Thought of the day
Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

“Abraham saw my day”

Commentary of the day 
Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church 
On Abraham, I, 67-68
“Abraham saw my day”

“God called to Abraham: Take your son whom you love, Isaac whom you have treasured; go to the heights and you shall offer him up as a holocaust.” (cf. Gen 22:2) Isaac prefigures Christ who will suffer. He comes on a donkey… When the Lord came to suffer his passion for us, he untied the foal of a donkey and sat on it… Abraham said to his servants: “We will come back to you.” He prophesied that which he did not know… Isaac carried the wood; Christ carried the gibbet of the cross. Abraham went with his son; the Father went with Christ. For he said: “You will leave me quite alone. Yet I can never be alone; the Father is with me.” (Jn 16:32) Isaac said to his father…: “Here is the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?” He spoke prophetic words but he did not know it. For the Lord was preparing a lamb for the sacrifice. Abraham also prophesied when he answered: “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust, my son.”… 

“The angel said: ‘Abraham, Abraham… Do not lay your hand on the boy, do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.’ (cf. Rom 8:32)… Abraham looked about and spied a ram hanging by its horns in the thicket.” Why a ram? He is the most valuable in the flock. Why hanging? To show you that it was no earthly victim... Our horn, our strength is Christ (Lk 1:69), who is superior to every human being, as we read: “Fairer in beauty are you than the sons of men.” (Ps 45:3) He alone was raised up from the earth and exalted, as he teaches us by his words: “I do not belong to this world; I belong to what is above.” (Jn 8:23) Abraham saw him in this sacrifice, he glimpsed his passion. That is why the Lord said of him: “Abraham saw my day and was glad.” He appeared to Abraham and revealed to him that his body would suffer the passion by means of which he redeemed the world. He even indicated what kind of passion he would undergo by showing the ram hanging. The bush is the gibbet of the cross. And raised up on this wood, the flock’s incomparable guide drew everything to himself so as to make himself known to everyone.