2nd Sunday of Lent

Sunday, February 25, 2018

First reading: Gn. 22:1-2,9,10-13,15-18

Some time afterward, God put Abraham to the test and said to him: Abraham! “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.

But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the angel. “Do not do the least thing to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you did not withhold from me your son, your only one.” Abraham looked up and saw a single ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.

A second time the angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by my very self—the oracle of the LORD—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one, I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants will take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.”

Second reading: Rom. 8:31-34

What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his won Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Gospel: Mk. 9:2-10

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the manner to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

In other words Fr. Jose Honorio Mateo, SVD (Paraguay, South America)

Tempted last week, transfigured today! Last week, we saw in the temptations of Jesus how our own faith and convictions are always put to test. Today, the transfiguration of Jesus shows us the glory that awaits those who listen to God. As with the First Sunday of Lent which always presents the story of the temptations of Jesus, the Second Sunday of Lent always relates the transfiguration story.

The transfiguration of Jesus. While the temptation in the desert demonstrates the human condition of Jesus, the transfiguration story clarifies His divinity. The gospel narrates that from a cloud came a voice: “This is my beloved Son.” Just like in the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River, the voice of the Father affirms the sonship of Jesus. Here, the Father presents Jesus as His Son, confirms His mission, and tells everybody: “Listen to Him!”

The disciples’ experience of the transfiguration. For the disciples, the transfiguration of Jesus was an intense spiritual experience. They saw Jesus transfigured. They heard the voice of the Father. That experience had a profound impact on them and that also signified a very important moment in their following of Jesus. In fact, the disciples needed that experience. Earlier on, Jesus told them that He had to suffer, die and rise on the third day. That announcement by Jesus left them confused and discouraged. But that experience on a high mountain gave them a new perspective, a renewed strength, and a foretaste of Jesus’ victory over death.

Our experience of the transfiguration. Just like the disciples, we also need profound spiritual experiences. We need to feel God’s presence in our lives. We need God’s blessings and graces. We need God’s forgiveness. In fact, we are called to live out that experience of the disciples by listening to God in prayer, by contemplating the Word of God, by nourishing our life through the Eucharist. We need moments of transfiguration so that with renewed strength, we can “come down from the mountain” and go on in this “valley of tears.”

As there are always moments of temptations, so we also need moments of transfiguration. Tempted we always are, transfigured we should always be.

Tags: Bible reflection, Witness to the Word