2nd Sunday of Lent

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

God put Abraham to the test. He called 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 you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height 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 he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing—all this because you obeyed my command.”

Second reading: Rom. 8:31b–34

Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own 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? Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised—who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Gospel: Mk. 9:2–10

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; 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 matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

In other words

by Fr. Pat de los Reyes, SVD (St. Arnold Janssen Home, Tagbilaran City)

When I was a little boy growing up to my teenage years, l used to listen to dramas over the radio only. We did not have a television at home at that time. And I hardly listen to the news. Others, of course, have their radios open all the time. They listen to music, advertisements, and news. The Internet was not conceived yet at that time. No social media. Now we have many different ways of listening to the news and we see and hear on television all the different realities of people and of the world. People are often glued to their TV sets or more commonly, their cell phones and iPads, mesmerized by what they see and hear on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.—even the fake news. People tinker with their cell phones even as they walk on the streets and sidewalks. And people, especially strangers don’t have time to talk with each other on buses, in school libraries, and even during meals because they seem to have a more important and urgent need to respond to texts and messages.

Silent movies have been replaced with talking movies. Today, people have less time to listen. Everybody wants to talk oftentimes together and one wonders if they hear and understand each other at all. If the Beatles sang “all we need is love,” perhaps we may also want people to know that today “all we need is to listen.”

“Listen to him!” the voice from the clouds urged the apostles. Listening requires that I listen with attentiveness, focus, wholehearted attention, and devotion.

According to the voice, I must listen to Jesus. I must listen attentively to every word he speaks and pay attention to his attitudes and behavior. I have to be, so to speak, “all ears, all eyes, all hearts, all feelings, and emotions” when I listen to Jesus. The Africans praise and worship with all their minds, hearts, souls, and bodies. This means also that I must be with Jesus, experience what he experiences, and feel his emotions: his joy, sadness, grief, and anger. Listening to him ought to become a practice in my everyday living. I must listen to him with devotion and love. 

Thomas Moore urged readers of his book Re-enchantment with Everyday Life to find God again and again in the realities of everyday life and listen to God’s voice by restoring our enchantment and amazement of the happenings around us. Despite all the different voices around me clamoring for my attention, I must seek his voice amidst these voices. I must be patient because it might be difficult to find it.

But I must listen. Like before, when I was a young, I would want to be enchanted again with everything happening around me and listen attentively to the voice of Jesus every day of my life, using all the different modern means of knowing and listening.

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