Unreserved love

Good morning, Bishop.

We were meditating about Abraham’s obedience. When we talk about the sacrifice of his only son, Isaac, we don’t imagine the depth of this action.

Nowadays having a child is common, but in that time and culture, having a male child had a great meaning, because he would be the guarantee of the family’s future livelihood. Through him, the family name would remain alive for another generation. This is why there was such great care with male children, especially the firstborn. They were the most protected, notably treated differently and privileged.

When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, He knew the true value of what He was asking. On the altar, Abraham would sacrifice his only opportunity to give continuity to his family, his guarantee to ensure his future and his generation.

In the Hebrew Bible, the words used by God are very strong. When He spoke to Abraham, He referred to Isaac saying, “whom you love” – “אשר אהבת”. This expression has a much greater sense than the perception of love people usually have. It means “unreserved, full, perfect love”. In addition, “Asher” means “one that allows” and “Ahava” means ” to love”. In other words, God asked Abraham for “the one He allowed him to love”. This shows that only after the birth of Isaac, Abraham became a complete, full, perfect man, that did not need anything else and he could then know the love that comes from God.

Despite everything Isaac represented to Abraham, the hero of faith decided to obey the voice of God. He did not complain, he did not hesitate, he did not regret doing everything he did to conceive the child, nor did he think all of his efforts were a waste of time up until that moment. We also go through the same situation as Abraham: God cleanses, changes, transforms and magnifies us, then there comes a certain point when He asks us for our “firstborn”. However, many of us do not have the same reaction as Abraham – and certainly our “firstborn” is much smaller than what was asked of him. Unfortunately, we complain, we look back and we accept many thoughts that prevent us from doing what God really wants us to do.

Today we were in Nazareth and during the meeting we experienced what Abraham lived through in his time. There was an Arab couple participating in the meeting. They have two daughters, but the wife explained that her husband isn’t considered a father yet because he hasn’t had a son. In Nazareth, when a son is born, the father changes his name. So, for example, I would no longer be called Gustavo and would become “Gabriel’s father – Abu Gabriel”. Since this Arab man only has daughters, his name has not changed, and therefore he cannot be considered a father. In this city and for these people, it is important to have a son, a firstborn. Before this happens, no female child is taken into consideration – many mothers even abort female babies until they have a boy. There is enormous pressure from family and friends, and this couple told us that they’re always looked down upon because of their situation. Through this example, we can imagine how strong and faithful Abraham was, even with all the pressure he suffered. He even denied the right to have another woman in order to have a son. Abraham remained faithful to his wife and God, showing that he did not care what others thought.

I hope to have contributed in some way.
Gustavo Boccoli

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