Bulletin: March 8, 2020
Second Sunday of Lent
Our readings today describe turning points for those whom God has chosen. In Genesis, God calls Abram to leave his homeland, with the promise of forming a people in a new land. In the Gospel, the disciples see Jesus literally in a new light, the bright light of Jesus’ transfiguration. They begin to see Jesus, and themselves, in a new way. These are times when God presents a new way forward, providing new purpose and energy. Our lives too have their own turning points, where God is working (usually in less spectacular fashion) to lead us into fuller maturity, and into deeper unity with God and others. The road ahead, as with Abram, Jesus, and the disciples, may be long and difficult. Lent can be a time when we reflect upon these turning points in our past, and consider how God may be stirring something new in us today.
BLEST TO BE A BLESSING
The first eleven chapters of Genesis tell the story of the tragedy of human separation from God. But God has not given up on humanity. God is on a mission to reconcile and heal all of creation. In today’s reading from Genesis 12, we see the beginning of God’s new strategy: to begin with a single person (Abram, later renamed Abraham) and family and form them into a distinct people, so that all peoples may see God’s blessing in them, and share in this blessing.
God’s chosen people are not selected simply to receive blessing, but to serve as examples and agents of blessing. God blesses people not only for their own benefit but for all. When we fully thank God, we also accept God’s call to bless others. We the Church receive God’s grace precisely so that we may share grace with others.
LISTEN TO HIM
In today’s Gospel describing Jesus’ transfiguration, we hear of the disciples’ vision of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Peter, perhaps understandably, responds by trying to enshrine the moment by building tents for them. However, God interrupts and speaks words identical to those spoken at Jesus’ baptism: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” But here God adds, “listen to him.”
Listening to God can take various forms. At some moments, as when we receive new insight or are deeply moved, we want to jump into action. Sometimes this is appropriate and necessary. But sometimes God interrupts our eagerness, and calls us to further reflection or simply to listen in silence.
Reflection and action are of course both essential to our faith journey. Yet we recall that God may often speak through silence. Contemplative practice, rich in tradition within our Catholic faith, reminds us that God invites us to an encounter within silence. In contemplative prayer, we open ourselves and simply wait upon God. We might encounter a divine Presence beyond words.
Today’s Readings: Gen 12:1–4a; Ps 33:4–5, 18–19, 20, 22; 2 Tim 1:8b–10; Mt 17:1–9