15 March, 2008

Neither sacrifice nor holocaust

My wife convinced me to bring my Italian breviary with me to Germany. I resisted at first, because I didn't want to carry too much weight, but tonight I actually made use of the thing, and even found something interesting. (The choice of words contradicts my meaning. Of course I found something interesting.)

The first reading in the Office of Readings comes from Hebrews:

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
holocausts and sin-offerings
you took no delight in. Then I said,
"As is written of me in the scroll,
Behold, I come to do your will, O God."
The author of Hebrews uses this passage in reference to Christ, but as I was reading it, it occurred to me that these few lines are appropriate for Abraham and Isaac as well. I'm thinking here of God's commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, in the end substituting a goat instead.

Looking at Psalm 40 as a whole, I admit that it's unlikely that the human author had this in mind—that the human author had Christ in mind, either. Still, I found the thought worth remembering. In the end, God does want us to do his will, because God wants us to know true satisfaction. Seeking and holding to the truth keep one along the path of God's will, and lead towards that ultimate satisfaction.

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