February 28, 2021 – Second Sunday of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/022821.cfm)
We are so familiar with the story of Abraham. God called him to go to a foreign land he did not know. Despite his insecurities, he took the risk and trusted God because God promised him that he will have children, land of his own and shall be a blessing to all the people on earth. However, our first reading tells us the opposite. God indeed gave Abraham and Sarah a son, Isaac, but God asked Abraham to sacrifice sin only son for God. Abraham was surely confused; he was deeply distressed at this request from God. Yet, Abraham took the risk and completely trusted in God.
God just tested Abraham. And God saw how Abraham remained dedicated and faithful despite the pain that Abraham endured. What was very interesting in him was his ability to listen to God who called him. It was by listening to God that Abraham was able to go beyond and conquer his fears, doubts and confusions in life. Because of that, God blessed him throughout his life. By this attitude of Abraham, he was TRANSFORMED by God making him a blessing to all.
But what is more interesting in our readings today is the TRANSFIGURATION of Jesus as witnessed by the three disciples – Peter, James and John. They have seen in advance the wonderful face of Jesus in the glorious resurrection. However, we would wonder, why would Jesus allow the three to see in advance or have a foretaste of the glorious resurrection? The voice that came from the clouds would tell us something. That mysterious voice says, “This is my beloved son. Listen to him.”
The voice from the cloud tells the three that Jesus is indeed the chosen one, the Messiah that they have been waiting for – the BELOVED ONE to whom they should LISTEN! The disciples are told to LISTEN to Jesus and to follow him in this life. They are told to listen to the life that Jesus will show them. Yet, this life with Jesus entails struggles, suffering and even death but there will be also joy and peace in the glorious resurrection.
Indeed, as they listened and followed Jesus, these fishermen turned into fishers of men. From being fearful and doubtful followers of Jesus they have become dedicated apostles and preachers of the Gospel. By listening to the Lord, they were transformed and converted into new persons.
This is now the message, the call that is being offered to us on this Second Sunday of Lent – that each of us and as a community we are called to JOURNEY WITH GOD. By journeying with God, it is essential that WE LISTEN TO GOD, to His Word. God is telling us now, “Be my herald of the good news, be my gossiper of the Gospel! Be my blessing to others”
As we respond to the call of Jesus, expect that we would feel what Abraham felt at the beginning. We can be fearful and doubtful like the disciples of Jesus. However, let us be confident that we will be transformed into new persons as we continually listen to what the Lord is saying to us. Let us remember, in following the Lord, it entails taking risks and trusting God to transform us and to change our old and destructive ways, habits and mindsets.
These old habits, they could be our passivity – which means that we go to church, sitting on that same area where you are seated now, saying the same prayers, responding your ‘amen’ and then go home. And that’s it! We can be very comfortable with that without confronting what is wrong with us or without recognizing our mistakes and ways of being indifferent towards other. Yes, we can we comfortable with our passivity.
Or this could be our overwhelming self-centered heart – that desires to dominate or manipulate others, to have everything and to be in control of everything and everyone. We can be very comfortable with that! – of having an overwhelming self-centered heart.
Orthiscould be our paralyzing fear, self-doubt and shame – that reject and do not recognize our own giftedness and talents. We may tend to put ourselves down and discredit the possibilities that we are capable of. We can be very comfortable with that! – With our paralyzing fear, self-doubt and shame.
Indeed, we can be very comfortable with those old and destructive ways, habits and mindsets that we have been practicing and doing because we tend to stay to what is only familiar to us. Nevertheless, this is not what God is asking us now and not what God wants us to be.
Thus, for this Second Week of Lent, I would like to ask each of you to find time for the whole week to open your bible, read the Gospel of the day and stay in silence at least for 5 minutes. Let that passage speak to you, let God speak to you through the bible, listen to Him! Hopefully, through this simple exercise, we may be moved to gradually be transformed into the way God wants us to be. Hinaut pa.