for Sunday, February 21, 2016
This Second Sunday of Lent always has an account of the Transfiguration of Christ in the Gospel and the Great Promise to Abraham in the first reading from the Book of Genesis. These are immensely important stories in our Christian tradition and we need to give our attention to them with a bit of depth to understand who we are when we follow Jesus Christ.
The Book of Genesis in a foundational document for the Jewish people and for us who follow Jesus Christ. As we understand more this historical relationship of God with His People, the more we come to understand Jesus coming in the flesh to save us. The Book of Genesis is all about the beginnings of human beings - not in a scientific way but in the way of faith.
We who follow Jesus believe that God loves this world so much that He never abandons us. Instead, God is always renewing His love for us and rescuing us from that which would destroy us. Our God reaches into time and history out of love, not with any intent to destroy us. God chooses a people to be His own, not because he rejects all other peoples but because His People have a special role to play in bringing salvation to all other peoples.
Abraham is among the first to hear this calling of the Lord. It is a call to follow the Lord, even when it seems impossible. Abraham, and then Sarah with Him, begin to follow with this God is asking of them. Right away there is the Great Promise: "Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so," he added, "shall your descendants be."
In the second reading, from the Letter to the Philippians, we have this Great Promise to us: He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.
The challenge is to believe and to have the faith that Abraham had in this God who loves us and seeks us out and gives us promises. It is not easy because it demands that we look beyond this life and it demands that we enter into a relationship with the living God on His terms.
The Gospel from Saint Luke gives an account of the Transfiguration. It was such a strange experience even for those who were present that Peter begins to talk about making tents! And the Gospel tells us that Peter did not know what he was saying. It was clearly such a strong and unusual experience that other Gospels even speak of Peter sort of being out of his mind!
But the Transfiguration account is given today because the great voice from heaven speaks out, just as in the Baptism of the Lord: "This is my chosen Son; listen to him."
My sisters and brothers, we are heirs of the promise to Abraham and we are witnesses to the accounts of the Baptism and the Transfiguration. God promises us that we also will be transformed (transfigured). Let us listen to Him!
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Genesis 15.5-12, 17-18
Second Reading: Philippians 3.17 – 4.1
Gospel: Luke 9.28b-36
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: