Here is part of today’s Old Testament reading, the account of the Sacrifice of Abraham: ‘When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son’.

St Ambrose commented: ‘Through motives of high devotion and in obedience to the word of God, Abraham offered his son as a holocaust, and like a man devoid of natural feeling he drew his sword that no delay might dim the brightness of his offering. Yet, when he was ordered to spare his son, he gladly sheathed his sword, and he who with the intention of faith has hastened to sacrifice his only begotten son hurried with greater zeal for piety to put a ram in place of the sacrifice’.

Abraham was known as the ‘Friend of God’. In living out our obedience to God, may we also know His friendship; and may God bless you this day.