25 February 2024

Lectionary Readings: Gen 22:1-2. 9-13. 15-18; Ps 116:10. 15-19; Rom 8:31b-34; Mk 9:2-10

Theme: God surprises us!

The readings today link the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Testament in offering stories of God’s surprising interventions and appearances in the lives of chosen ones. In the Genesis story, Abram is called to leave his native land and go forth (lekh-lekha) on an unknown journey.  He is then tested and asked to offer his only son as a sacrifice to God. A relationship was established earlier when God made a covenant with Abram which changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and promised that Abraham would be the father of a great nation. Unlike the gods of other nations, God gives and provides!  God does not demand anything but gives and blesses (Bell, 72). The Psalmist offers hope in the Lord who promises to be with us in times of distress and reminds us to be thankful as we call on God because each one of us is “precious in the eyes of the Lord” (116:15).

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:31). As God saved Isaac from death, God will find a way to bring life from death for his beloved son, Jesus.  The Gospel is a remarkable one of “surprise” as old and new covenants point to the identity of Jesus before his three closest friends, Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah both appear as Jesus is transfigured before them and represent the Law and the Prophets, respectively. There is only one command given by the heavenly voice, “Listen to him” (9:7). In response, the three bewildered disciples devotedly commit themselves to follow Jesus without any reason to believe Jesus, and many of his followers would eventually be put to death.  This experience was a “test” for the disciples in offering them a choice to trust in the promises of God even if they did not comprehend the demands of such a commitment (Bergant, 39).

Lent is a time of renewal and the “springtime” of the Church Year. This 2nd Sunday of Lent offers stories of encouragement and hope as we face ongoing struggles, pain, and losses. Often we find ourselves not comprehending the meaning of what is happening in our’s and others’ lives. Our God is truly one who never leaves us alone, and our beloved “ancestors” join Jesus in constantly interceding for us.  Just as the first followers of the God of Israel and the followers of that same God whose son is Jesus,  we are called into a covenant relationship that gives us the strength, hope, and courage we need to “keep on, keepin’ on,” as Sister Thea Bowman would say (one of my favorite present day saints!)

For Reflection and Discussión : 1. Do I trust in the promises of God when there are terrible struggles that I face or I see others facing?  2.  What ways can I encourage others to trust and know that our loving God continues to be present in “surprising ways” as we live each day?  3.  Am I called to bring about that “surprise” by my own actions in reaching out to others?

Bibliography: Bergant, Dianne, The Word for Every Season: Reflections on the Lectionary Readings (Cycle B). Paulist Press, (2008); Bell, Rob. “2nd Sunday of Lent.” Sick, and You Cared for Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle B, edited by James J. Knipper, Clear Faith Publishing, 2014, p. 69-73.

This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Mary Louise Chesley-Cora, Delaware, USA, Bat Kol Alumna 2001

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