March 13, 2022 – 2nd Sunday of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/031322.cfm)
A friend shared to me how she took the risk of entering into a new relationship. She had been hurt in the past and the scar of betrayal still pained her. She became protective of herself by being suspicious of others. Obviously, she did not want another pain and disappointment. But then, another person came who promised to be with her. She was hesitant and fearful because she might experience another heartache. She will not be able to bear another pain and betrayal. At the beginning, she would not give any room for her suitor to occupy a space in her heart. Yet, the determination and patience of that man made her reconsider her position. At the end, she took the risk despite her anxieties and fears for a new relationship. Moreover, she discovered how that taking the risk transformed her, including her attitudes and perspective in life. In the process, as she took the risk, she became positive and grateful. A new person has emerged, a transformed woman ready to love and be loved again.
Her story reminds me of the stories we have heard in today’s readings, which invite each of us to take the risk and be transformed. Together, let us explore these readings and see how God calls us on this Second Sunday of Lent.
In the Book of Genesis, God called Abram to journey to a land God has promised. Abram was to leave the comfort of his homeland and people because God prepared something for him. God also promised Abram many children. Despite his uncertainties and anxieties, Abram took the risk of journeying to that strange land, and took the risk of putting his trust and faith in God.
Indeed, as he took the risk of believing in God, God transformed Abram into a new man through the covenant that God made with Abram. Later, we knew that Abram’s name became Abraham, which means, the “father of many.” Certainly, this is a story of taking risk that led to a transformation of a person.
We also find this in today’s Gospel. The transfiguration of Jesus is a manifestation of Jesus’ act of taking the risk to be vulnerable and powerless, to be sold and betrayed by a friend, to be deserted by his own disciples, to be persecuted, to suffer and to die. And because Jesus completely trusted his Father despite the uncertainties, “his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.”
What does it mean? It was a glimpse of the glory of his resurrection, which Peter, John and James witnessed with their own eyes. In that revelation, the Father assured Jesus of His constant presence. It was a covenant made by the Father to His son, telling the Son that he will not be alone.
Moreover, to Peter, John and James it was also an invitation “to listen to Jesus” – that is to take the risk of following the Lord and be transformed according to the image of Jesus. Indeed, as they listened to Jesus, they took the risk of following the Lord despite their fears and doubts, and of the uncertainties of their life as disciples.
Thus, these former fishermen became fishers of many people. The doubtful and fearful Peter became a pillar of the Church and a martyr for Christ. The innocent and young John became a respected old man whose wisdom was sought after by his disciples. And James became a devoted preacher of Jesus and was the first apostle to be martyred because of his devotion and faith.
The invitation for us today is also to take the risk so that we will be transformed to be like Jesus. Remember, we can be very comfortable with our old ways and choosing to stay to what is only familiar to us. We could grow contented the way we live our life now to the point that we do not want to be challenged.
Yet, God wants us to be renewed. Hence, we are called to get out from the comforts of being passive, complacent and indifferent, to get out from our self-centered ideas and attitudes, to let go of our biases against people, to let go of our fears and doubts that only prevent us from being free, honest and life-giving persons.
Today, God tells us, “Listen to me!” God speaks in our hearts through the words in the bible and through this celebration that we are not to remain passive, not to remain complacent, not to remain self-centered, fearful and doubtful of ourselves but to become pro-active, to be self-sacrificing, to go out from our usual ways and to be confident in God’s words like Abram and Jesus’ disciples. Hinaut pa.