March 12, 2017

2nd Sunday of Lent

March 12, 2017:  Second Sunday of Lent

  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord's eyes are on those who fear him (psalm); the disciples raised their eyes and saw only Jesus (gospel)
  • 'Clock' pin:  Our soul waits for the Lord (psalm) [nothing to do with the start of Daylight Saving Time]
  • 'Shield' pin:  The Lord, our help and our shield (psalm)
  • 'Bear' tie bar:  'Bear' your share of hardship for the gospel (2nd reading)
  • 'Alps' tie pin:  Jesus led Peter, James, and John up a high mountain (gospel)
  • 'Sun' pin:  Jesus' face shone light the sun (gospel)
  • Dazzling white shirt (and socks):  Transfiguration (gospel)
  • Tie with bright cloud:  A bright cloud cast a shadow over them (gospel) 
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season
For the gospel

For Psalm 33
Lenten earworm 
For future celebrations
Listening tips
Pope Francis
Angelus:  Jesus showed his transfigured glory to his disciples not to keep them from going through the Cross, but to show them to where he was carrying the Cross.  Whoever dies with Christ, with Christ shall rise again; those who struggle with him, with him shall triumph.  The Cross is the gate of the Resurrection; its message of hope calls us to be strong.  The Cross is not something to hang at home or an ornament to wear but a call to love sacrificially like Jesus.  Let us contemplate the image of the Crucified Lord; it's the symbol of Christian faith, the symbol of Jesus, who died and rose for us.  Let's make sure the Cross marks the stages of our Lenten journey, that we might better understand the gravity of sin and the value of the Redeemer's sacrifice.
To volunteers:  Dialogue allows us to know and understand each other's needs.  It shows respect, because it places people in an attitude of openness, so we may receive the best from each other.  It also expresses charity, insofar as it helps people search paths forward while respecting differences, with a view to the common good.  Through dialogue we can see others as God's gifts, not threats.  Dialogue helps people humanize their relationships and overcome misunderstandings.  If there were more true dialogue in families, at work, and in politics, many questions would be resolved more easily.  The ability to listen, unfortunately uncommon, is necessary for dialogue.  Listening requires patience and attention.  Only those who can keep quiet can listen:  to God, to those who need help, to friends, to family members.  God is the best listener:  whenever we pray, he hears us, without asking for anything, and even precedes us and takes the initiative in answering our requests.  Aptitude for listening urges us to break down walls of misunderstanding, create bridges of communication, and overcome isolation and closure.
Wordle: Readings 3-16-14
  • Gn 12:1-4a  Lord to Abram: “Go to a land I'll show you.  I'll make you a great nation and bless you; you'll be a blessing to all communities of the earth.”  Abram went as the Lord directed.
  • Ps 33:4-5, 18-20, 22  "Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you."  The Lord loves justice and right; he delivers and preserves those who hope in him.
  • 2 Tim 1:8b-10  Bear hardship for the gospel with strength from God who saved us and called us to a holy life.  Christ Jesus brought grace and life to light.
  • Mt 17:1-9  Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John; he was conversing with Moses and Elijah.  Peter:  “Good; how about if I make three tents?”  Voice from cloud:  “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”  Jesus:  “Don't fear, and don't tell anyone till the Son of Man has been raised.”
    • Creighton:  "Lent, season of joyful transformation":  Remember the 1st time riding a bike without training wheels, standing on an ocean shore, standing on a mountain precipice, sitting with a dying loved one, witnessing a mother give birth, holding a child, making love with your spouse...:  experiences of God's tangible presence, of transformation.   The experience of Jesus'   transfiguration must have transformed Peter, James, and John.  Our own daily experiences are opportunities for transformation.  Experiencing freedom predisposes us to greater experiences of freedom.  Experiences of awe, wonder, fascination, thrill, tenderness, caring, and love fill us with yearning for the fuller, richer, the More of God.  God gently transforms, revealing to me more about myself while drawing me closer to himself.  My thirst for God keeps our relationship maturing.  Experience of God draws me closer, deeper into Love, into fuller, richer life, to God.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Are you working hard for the gospel?"  The baptized share in the gospel's blessings and hardships.  Jesus brings hope in the midst of hardship.  In today's Gospel, Jesus shows his disciples his brilliance and glory.  Peter told us Jesus' Transfiguration was light for all who bear gospel hardships; he also understood them as normal.  "Christ suffered in the flesh; arm yourselves with his same mentality."  Our hardships are few compared to our ancestors'.  Abram moved hundreds of miles at age 75.  Mary suffered many sorrows.  Many have been martyred.  "The present burden... is light enough," and the Lord gives daily strength and periodic glimpses of glory so we may persevere.  "Take courage... and work"to spread the gospel.  "With strength from God bear your share of the hardship...."
    Преображение (Transfiguration)/ Ivanov

    • Passionist:  At the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John fell prostrate and were afraid.  We too have had moments of fear, facing challenges beyond our strength or abilities.  Abram likely felt like that when told to pack and go “to a place I'll show you.”  Timothy too was asked to do a task beyond his experience:  to lead the Christian community in Ephesus.  Paul tells him, “Bear your hardship with strength from God,” reminding him, and us, that his/our strength is unimportant; God will give the strength and wisdom necessary to complete the task he gives us.  On our own we can't change what holds us back from deeper love for God, but God has given us the strength in Christ.  Lord, open us up to your transforming love today.
      Transfiguration of Christ
      More Transfiguration art
    •  "Listen to my Son":  God promised Abraham he'd make him a channel of blessing to his family, descendants, and all familiesh, so long as Abraham went to the land he'd show him.  Abraham believed and obeyed, and God chose him as his instrument; through him would come the Messiah, who would reveal the God's glory and bring salvation to all who would call upon him.  In all Jesus did and said, he sought to please and glorify his Father.  Like Abraham, he was ready to part with anything that could stand in the way of doing God's will. He knew success depended on his willingness to do his Father's whatever the cost.  On three occasions Jesus told his disciples he'd suffer and die on a cross.  As that time approached, he took three of his beloved disciples up the mountain, appeared with Moses and Elijah, and was transfigured.  When Moses met with God on Sinai, his face shone because he had been talking with God; his face was so bright, the Israelites couldn't look at it.  After the great prophet Elijah destroyed the priests and idols of Baal, he took refuge on Sinai, where God showed him his glory, then directed him to fulfill the mission God gave him.  Jesus' appearance with them confirms he's ready to fulfill the mission the Father gave him; he knew the cross was ahead and may have discussed with them his decision to go to it.  The Father, knowing Jesus was obedient, also gave his approval:  "This is my Son; listen to him."  The cloud fulfilled the Jews' dream that when the Messiah came, the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple again.  Jesus wants to share this glory with us.  He shows us the way to glory:  "Follow me."  Jesus embraced the cross to win a crown of glory, one that awaits each of us who follows him.
    "To see Jesus' transfiguration, behold and simply apprehend the Jesus of the Gospels, where he is beheld 'according to the flesh' and in his divinity.  He is beheld in the form of God according to our capacity, as he was beheld by those who went up the mountain.  Those who don't go up the mountain can still behold his works and hear his words, which are uplifting.  Jesus is transfigured before those who go up, not those below. When he is, he shines, that he may be manifested to the children of light, who have put off works of darkness and put on the armor of light. They walk honestly as in the day.  He will shine to them as the sun of righteousness" (Origen, Commentary on Matthew).
    Luke's Gospel tells us that while Jesus was transfigured, Peter, James, and John were asleep (Luke 9:32)! Upon awakening they discovered Jesus in glory along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God's glory and action because we are asleep spiritually? There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the "unexamined life" can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ. Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God.  As Peter, James, and John witnessed the glory of Christ, so are we called to be its witnesses:   "We with unveiled face, beholding the Lord's glory, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another...."

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