Saturday, March 11, 2006
2nd Sunday of Lent
March 12, 2006
2nd Sunday of Lent - B
GENESIS 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."
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.
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.
We seek to avoid what is painful, stressful and traumatic. But it is in
our crosses that we find the wholeness and joy of the resurrection.
Christ calls us not to walk away from the crosses that life lays on our
shoulders, but to bear them that we might find life, to face our
crucifixions with the sure knowledge that only through those sufferings
can we hope to experience resurrection.
We may wonder why the Gospel story of the transfiguration is placed
among the heavy readings of Lent. Why not among the glorious readings
of Easter season? The answer lies in the context in which the
transfiguration takes place. It takes place right after Jesus tells his
disciples that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die.
When Peter heard Jesus say this, he cried out, "God forbid, Lord! No
such thing shall ever happen to you." Jesus then said to Peter, "Get
behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as
God does, but as human being do."
Peter, James, and John needed a spiritual "shot in the arm" after
Jesus' shocking revelation to them. Perhaps that's also why the Church
puts the transfiguration among the somber readings of Lent. The Church
wants to give us a "shot in the arm" before it turns our attention to
the suffering of Jesus on Good Friday. It wants to give us something to
hold on to during the hours of pain and sorrow of Jesus' suffering and
death on the cross.
Another reason why the transfiguration is placed among the Lenten
readings is because the transfiguration is closely related to the agony
in the garden.
Both these events took place on a mountain. The agony in the garden
took place on the Mount of Olives; the transfiguration, on Mount Tabor.
Both events took place at night. And in both events the Apostles fell
asleep while Jesus remained awake and praying. Finally, both events
were witnessed by the same three Apostles: Peter, James, and John.
What is the connection between these two events? On Mount Tabor the
three Apostles saw Jesus in a moment of ecstasy, when Jesus' divinity
shone through him in way that it has never done before. On Mount of
Olives, the same three Apostles saw Jesus in a moment of agony, when
his humanity shone through him in a way that it had never done before.
Jesus' ecstasy on Mount Tabor and his agony on the Mount of Olives are
complementary events. They are inseparable sides of the same coin. They
show the total Jesus in a total way: his humanity and his divinity.
This brings up an important point about faith. Our faith often has its
"up's" and "down's." It has high points and low points. It has
mountains and valleys. There are times when our faith burns bright. At
other times, it flickers and on the verge of dying.
Faith follows the rhythms of happiness and sadness, ecstasy and agony,
light and darkness. But if we trust God, he will not let us down. In
the end, God will bless us beyond our wildest dreams. The Apostle James
puts it this way:
"Happy is the person, who remains faithful under trial, because when he
succeeds in passing such a test, he will receive as his reward the
life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)
And so, this is the good news of today's readings.
We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the eternal repose of the soul of Amparo Filio. Eternal rest
grant unto her and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she and
all the souls of the dearly departed rest in peace.
- for the restoration of love and understanding of Charles & Cheryl C.
- for the healing and speedy recovery of Poch Robles, Armi Araujo,
and Eric Guevarra.
- for the healing of Tina M. Ocampo.
- for the healing and speedy recovery of Leoncio Chua.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Franklin Sun
- In Memoriam (+): Saw Cen
- In Memoriam (+): Natividad Lee Chuakay
- In Memoriam (+): Fr. Rafael Cortina, S.J.
- In Memoriam (+): Yang Moon Chu
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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