Sunday, March 16, 2014

Second Sunday of Lent Reflection

Today's readings recall how Christ is the One the Jews waited for. He is the the completion of God's plan to save humanity.  They remind us of faith.

In the first reading from Genesis 12:1-4, we read how God speaks to Abram and tells him to leave his past to a new land. He will become the 'Father' of a new nation.

The first reading reminds us how it all started. God made a covenant with Abram who would later be called Abraham. He would be the model of true faith for all and God would found a nation which he would be the father of. God calls Abram to leave all behind. This is not easy to do. Imagine listening to a disembodied voice telling you to leave your family's land and go to a strange land which the voice promises will be yours. Abram trusted God. He never questioned God's commands.

Lent is a period of meditation and renewal. This story is a great way to meditate on what it means to have faith. Faith means to trust God. God is the creator, God is good. Trusting God does not take anything away because we know He wants the best for us. However, due to Original Sin and our own Actual sin, we don't see things clearly in life. (1 Corinthians 13:12)  Faith is not easy to live by. In faith we fall into a Teleological Suspension from our human ethical laws as the philosopher Kierkegaard posits in his Problema writings.  Faith becomes a paradox in itself. Nevertheless, it is by faith that we grow in God because we learn to trust Him.  In any relationship trust is key. Without trust, we cannot have any kind of relationship.  Jesus Himself calls us to leave all things and follow Him. (Luke 18:22)

In response to the first reading we recite Psalm 33 which speaks of trust in God and goes in detail about how God cares of us.  We call on God to have mercy on us as He guides our path.  Again, the keyword 'trust' is mentioned in the first sentence "Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
"  We recall how God is trustworthy.  Like Abram, we are called to leave all behind and trust God because God is God and does not deceive.  

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to Timothy and speaks of how God's grace brings us to holiness.  It starts out by telling us that our faith is not easy and is full of hardships.  However, God gives us the strength to carry on.  Again, this reading reminds us of trusting God.  God has everything under control despite our lives getting hectic at times especially when we get closer to God.  It is God's grace that keeps us going, not our own.  

Lastly, the Gospel is the story of the Transfiguration where Christ takes Peter, James and John to a mountain top and He visibly transforms into a glorious being glowing in God's glory.  Moses and Elijah, two pillars of the Jewish faith appear beside Christ representing Israel, the law and the prophets while validating that Christ is the one they were preparing the Hebrews for.  This transformation is a foreshadowing of the Resurrection where Christ will appear in a glorious form after He rises from the dead.  Again, the Gospel shows how Peter, James and John trusted Christ and followed Him.  They were the first to be called and were His closest disciples.

We as followers of Christ must reflect on this during Lent and throughout the year. We must analyze where our faith lies.
  • We must ask ourselves how much do we trust God?  
  • Are we willing to give up everything for God? 
  • Are we willing to go wherever God calls us to even if it brings us pain and suffering?  
This is why we do penance, abstain from meat, and fast. This is why we give up something for Lent and offer more so we can discipline ourselves. Detachment is the key to getting closer to God. St. Francis of Assisi and other saints have showed us that only in casting away our worries, our material desires do we grow closer to God.  God afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted. Our trials make sense only in faith.  Let us continue to grow in faith, trust God and focus on His Son Jesus who is the only One we need.  

Here are the readings:

Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 25

Reading 1GN 12:1-4A
The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him.

Responsorial Psalm PS 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

R/ (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Reading 2 2 TIM 1:8B-10

Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.

Gospel MT 17:1-9
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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