When Fr. Murphy gave the second homily that I saw him give on Sunday (this time aimed at Confirmation candidates and adults rather than at first through third graders) he focused on the first reading--the story of Abraham and Isaac, just as I had when I was reflecting on the readings. He talked about how it would have been easier to discuss the transfiguration. I'm not priest, but I'm not at all sure the transfiguration is any easier to figure out than the story of Abraham and Isaac.
Fr. Murphy didn't use my words, i.e. that Abraham was "all in," but his homily did reflect a similar notion. Where his interpretation was a little different from mine was in what he asked next. He pointed out that as a Catholic priest he had no idea what a parent-child relationship was like from the parent side. He'd obviously experienced it from the child side and had observed it plenty of times from the parent side but had not (and would never) experience it from that side.
What he had thought about was "what might God be asking me to give up?" Or, alternatively, "what is the one thing that if God said I had to sacrifice that I'd be very hard pressed to do?" He also turned it into a positive when he pointed out that whatever we are asked to do God will infinitely outdo us in terms of his generosity and then he asked, "What is the generosity God is calling you to?"
So, for the parishioners, the key was weather there was some temptation we were feeling linked to but being asked to set aside or was there some generous activity we were being asked to start? And not just any small activity--although small activities are not bad--but what big item?
It went together with his earlier talk about listening for the voice of God in a very nice way. For Lent, I've been writing every day. That helps me. Maybe others find this interesting. After Lent, I'll have to see what comes next. I'd like to continue to find ways to link my running and my giving. Not that other issues about family, work, and community are not important, but I feel that God has called me to the running/giving combination in a particular way. I just have to continue to listen (particularly on those long runs by myself) for the Word.