lamb in grass

In Holy Mass, we mention different biblical names, especially two of them: Abel and Isaac. Through their sacrifice, although in different ways, both of them are a prefigurement that announces the sacrifice of Christ.


  1. Abel is the symbol of an innocent victim that fell under his brother’s hand. Abel’s brother Cain was so envious, that he could not bear the fact that Abel’s sacrifice was better accepted by God. It was better accepted because Abel offered the best of what he had, whereas Cain did not offer the best of what he had. In this event, we recognise Christ who offers Himself. This is the supreme gift that the Father gave us. Jesus, the Son of God, was killed out of envy, but the Father received His sacrifice and saved the world.

Let us read a passage from the Book of Genesis:


Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.

In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. (Gen 4:1-8)


  1. Isaac was the son of Abraham, and Abraham is our ancestor in faith, because he put his faith in God. It was asked of him to sacrifice his son Isaac, in whom God promised him posterity. Abraham took his son and was ready to offer the extreme sacrifice. At the moment when everything seemed to be lost, Abraham’s obedience was rewarded: instead of his son, he offered an ordinary sacrifice.

In this event too, we recognise the meaning of the sacrifice of Christ. The love of the Father for us is so great, that He did not spare His only Son, and Jesus’s obedience is so perfect, that He sacrificed Himself willingly.

Let us read a passage from the Book of Genesis:

After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the ass; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 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.

So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord will provide; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Gen 22:1-14)


(Barbarić, Slavko. 2018. Celebrate Mass with the heart.)

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