Second Sunday of Lent
Each of my siblings having more than one child has buried a son, so in some ways, we can appreciate the joy Abraham experienced upon hearing, “Do not lay you hand on the boy,” huge relief! Our world today so often wakes to staggering numbers of deaths due to the pandemic, riots in our cities, marches against racism, terror against our government and leaders- all which produce anxiety and distress; could there be a better time for a message of hope, a promise of newness? Today’s Gospel lifts us out of the darkness and promises new life awaits.
In our first reading, “God puts Abraham to the test” by directing him to sacrifice his only son, and this is after promising Abraham that he would be a father to many! Yet off Abraham goes with Isaac to offer this precious gift to God. Talk about sacrifice! Abraham passes his test; father and son return home with new joy and deep love in their hearts.
The first line of the Responsorial Psalm contains a statement most of us have experienced some time in our lives. “I believe, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’.” The verse we repeat, “I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living,” captures the promise which enables each of us to rise each morning and face a new day with joy.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we are again reminded that IF God sacrificed His Son, why would God deny what we request IF our requests are justified in God’s eyes? We are also reminded that not only did Jesus die, but He was also raised, so now Jesus reigns with His Father, and from this position, Jesus is able to intercede on our behalf. Our Gospel Acclamation, “Praise and honor to You, Lord Jesus Christ” easily completes Paul’s words.
But it is the Gospel that fills our hearts with hope and joy even when life is still a struggle. The account of the Transfiguration contains such a vivid description of new life- the radiance of Jesus, His dazzling clothes, the appearance of Elijah and Moses, the clouds, and the voice announcing, “This, (the radiant, gleaming one) is my beloved Son, Listen to Him.” At the time, the Apostles questioned, it wasn’t until after Jesus rose that a glimmer of awareness rose among them.
May today’s readings fill us with hope, and may we “Listen to Him.”
Sr. Miriam Catherine Nevins, OP