March 5, 2023 – Second Sunday of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/030523.cfm)
Life is a journey. It is never meant to be static. As simple as the flow of the traffic, it goes forward until one reaches the desired destination. When life becomes stagnant, this is where we also find life uninteresting, depressing and devoid of life itself. Thus, our life also entails taking risks to move forward and being able to embrace the possibilities of what lies ahead despite its uncertainties.
This is how we realize that taking risks to enter into new relationships, new places, new perspectives, new ways or methodologies could bring more life in us and even help us to be a better version of ourselves. This is something that I want to expound on this Second Sunday of Lent. The readings we have today have a lot more to say for each of us in this Season of Lent. And so allow me to journey with you through the readings.
The Book of Genesis tells us of the call of Abram. He was called by the Lord to journey to a land he did not know, only God knows. This already tells us that this particular journey was filled with uncertainties and unfamiliarity. Abram was asked to leave and go out from his comforts, from the usual and from the familiar to him as he was to leave his family and homeland. Everything will be left behind.
Yet, amidst uncertainties, God promised, “I will bless you!” Abram will be a blessing and all communities of the earth shall find blessing in him. This was how Abram went as the Lord directed him. Abram trusted the Lord and took the risk. Abram also grew in faith and became more familiar with God’s voice speaking in his heart.
Abram’s life was a journey with the Lord but despite the risk of being uncertain, it formed Abram to grow as a person, as a man of faith. This was how Abram became a blessing to all.
The Second Letter of Paul to Timothy reminds us also that even though we might experience fear and become anxious in life, yet, there is comfort and assurance given to us. Paul tells us that our journey is towards a “Holy Life.” We are saved and called for this. This is God’s desire for us and so God gives us spiritual strength. Therefore, we cannot rely on our own abilities and convictions alone. As we take risks in this life, we rely on the grace of God. We trust God’s presence to direct and inspire us.
Moreover, the Gospel of Matthew beautifully proclaimed to us this journey towards that holy life. We were told that Jesus took Peter, James and John to a high mountain. It was a journey taken by the three with Jesus. The three disciples, like Abram, didn’t know what will happen there but because they trusted the Lord and had already built a close relationship with him, then, they went ahead.
That high mountain is a symbol of being close to the Divine presence. This was where Jesus was “transfigured.” This means that Jesus’ appearance was completely changed, signifying his glory that was never seen before. This was a glimpse of that holy and glorious life. Yet, the transfiguration of Jesus was more than physical.
That is why, the presence of Moses and Elijah pointed to something more. These two were the figures of the Law and the Prophets of the whole Hebrew Scriptures. They were conversing with the transfigured Jesus. This means that Jesus is the embodiment or the living fulfillment of the Law and of the Prophets. Hence, in journeying with Jesus, we shall find in him the fullness of life, healing and freedom.
However, we are warned not to be like Peter at that time of this event. Peter who had a glimpse of the glory of Jesus wanted to stay. It was so glorious that he wanted to behold longer. Peter only listened to his desires and impulses. This is the danger of becoming static and stagnant in life when we let ourselves be overwhelmed by the events in our life, or by our emotions or by anything that prevents us to move forward and discover more.
Yet, the Lord God never meant that life must be stagnant. That’s why when Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed the three of them. This was God’s presence with a declaration saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, LISTEN TO HIM.” Yes, to listen to Jesus – this was the response to Peter and to all of us who merely listened to what we want and like to believe based only on our personal preferences and fancies.
Another interesting and moving event here was that action of Jesus after that voice from heaven. The three were very much afraid of what just happened but “Jesus came and touched them.” This was the real presence of a friend who brings comfort and assurance when we too become afraid in life.
From there, they came down from the mountain. This expresses that the journey continues and that is to bring change and blessing into our homes, groups, organizations, workplaces and communities. And from these readings today, I leave you three invitations.
First, consciously make this Season of Lent a journey towards our transformation and not just as a mere devotional ritual to be practice yearly. So, seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation and faithfully do fasting and abstinence.
Second, be more attentive of God’s presence in this Eucharist and even in the ordinary events of our life. Thus, it is important that we give time to be silent and to pray by becoming more familiar with God’s presence.
Third, listen to Jesus. The Lord speaks in our hearts. So, read and reflect with your Holy Bible, if you can, attend Lenten Recollections and Retreats.
As we embrace these invitations, may we be transformed to become blessings to everyone as we allow ourselves to be a gift to people whom we will encounter in this life. Kabay pa.