2nd Sunday of Lent (17 March 2019)
Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 9:28-36
As we enter the second week of Lent, the readings remind us that we are called to persevere in the conviction that God will deliver us as He has promised. We must persevere in our journey just as Jesus did so we also may share in His resurrection.
The first reading is taken from Genesis where God covenants with Abraham to bless him with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and to give him the land of Canaan. When God made this promise, Abraham was still childless and many others occupied the land. In fact the verses just before the start of the reading recall Abraham bemoaning the fact that he has no blood heir. Abraham’s response to the seemingly extravagant promise that God made to him is at v6. We are told Abraham “believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness”. This is the core of our faith – to trust and obey God no matter the circumstances and no matter how unlikely God’s deliverance may seem and it will be credited to us as righteousness.
The second reading is taken from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians. St Paul reiterates the importance of persevering in living a life that has Christ at its centre. We are reminded not to live for the things of this world – food, glory, or other earthly things. Instead as citizens of heaven, we are to keep our minds on heavenly things. Our lives therefore must reflect the reality of our faith in the Risen Christ who is to return.
The Gospel reading recounts the Transfiguration. Peter, James and John see with their own eyes, the Human Jesus transfigured into the Divine Jesus and in conversation with Moses and Elijah. And they hear God proclaiming the divinity of Jesus, the Chosen Son. The Transfiguration is a witness to the reality of God’s presence in and sovereignty over all circumstances including the Cross, to which Jesus was headed. Jesus persevered with His mission and it culminated in His triumphant resurrection. By His obedient submission to death, He made possible the life that God promised His creation.
As we get into the Lenten Season, we take away from the readings this week the importance of perseverance in our faith journeys. That perseverance has three dimensions. First, we are to persevere in our belief in the Risen Christ and in the reality that Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. Just as Abraham believed God’s promise and was reckoned righteous, we are to persevere in our belief that we too will share in the Resurrection through Jesus. Second, we are to translate that belief into living a life that has Christ at its centre. St Paul’s reminder that we are to live with heavenly things in our minds is wholly apposite. Finally, we are to persevere in both believing in and living the Christian way no matter what the circumstances. Just as Jesus persevered through the Way of the Cross, we are to persevere no matter how dire our circumstances may seem for if we truly believe God is Supreme and Sovereign and loves us boundlessly, then there is nothing He will permit to happen to us that is not ultimately for our best. Here lies the great joy of Lent.
Some points for reflection as you read the passages:
- Do you ever struggle with the reality of the Resurrection? Do you truly believe that because of your faith in Jesus, God will raise you?
- What are the earthly things that preoccupy your daily life? How does this prevent you from enjoying true communion with God?
- What can you do during this Lenten season to advance your quest for a deeper relationship with God? What are the things that are making this difficult?