2nd Sunday of Lent (Fr. Vinner)
THE CALL OF ABRAHAM, THE CALL OF FAITH
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ The common theme of today’s readings is transformation. The readings invite us to work with the assistance of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives by renewing them during Lent, and to radiate the glory and grace of the transfigured Lord which we have received to all around us by our Spirit-filled lives.
Within this period of lent, the voice of God still re-echoes in the voice of the Church inviting us to undertake the journey of faith.
This journey of faith involves abandoning our sinful and old ways of life for a new beginning. It includes giving up some of those things that are precious to us that we may be more devoted to the things of God. The journey of faith is a journey towards a life of virtue, prayer, penance and charity. It is a journey towards perfection and it embraces sacrifices and suffering. It is a journey in which we have to let go of certain things. As Abram let go of his landed property and patrimony, we also have to let go of our pride, selfishness, arrogance, debauchery and other sinful actions. As we let go of these things, God prepares a better place for us. Faith in God demands our separation from sin and occasions of sin. This period of lent is a very good opportunity to effect this separation from sin. A life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving will avail us of the necessary graces to make a sincere separation from sin.
In the reading for today from Genesis, Abram, or as he would later be called, Abraham, is presented as a model of faith. He had reached that age whereby he was respected as a wise and tried leader. He probably worked his way up in the governing council of the people of Ur of the Chaldees, his homeland. He was at that stage of his life where he should settle back and enjoy the fruits of his years of labor. Certainly, the last thing anyone would have expected a 75 year old leader to do is to set himself and his people off into a new direction. But that is exactly what Abraham did in response to God’s call. It may not have seemed wise for him to lead his immediate family from their homeland. The talk of his progeny becoming a new nation would have seemed particularly foolish taking into account his age and the fact he had no children. But Abraham put his faith completely in God, and God worked his wonders through Abraham.
This is the type of faith that we are called to embrace. We are called to be different from those elements of the world that do not make God the priority. We are called to leave the security of trusting in our land, or our stuff, and to put our faith completely in God. We are called to be part of a new people, a new breed, who are radically different from the world. We are called to be holy, for that is what holiness is, being set apart for God.
Jesus, as the Man of Faith, trusted completely in His Father’s plan for mankind with the faith of a human being who recognized His dependence on His God. This is the same sort of faith that you and I are called upon to embrace. He believed the scriptures that the Messiah would suffer, die and rise. The mysterious meeting on the mountain with Moses and Elijah, today’s Gospel of the Transfiguration, strengthened His resolve to let God’s plan take effect in Him. Moses represented the Law. Elijah represented the Prophets. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. He discussed this with the foundations of Israel’s faith, Moses and Elijah. He would trust God to allow His Plan to be accomplished. And He would not let His disciples say anything about the vision until He had risen from the dead. For you cannot come to any sort of understanding of Easter Sunday unless you experience Good Friday.
JOKE OF THE WEEK: 1) Lenten penance: There is a story of a father trying to explain Lent to his ten-year-old son. At one point, the father said, “You ought to give up something for Lent, something you will really miss, like candy.” The boy thought for a moment, then asked, “What are you giving up, Father?” “I’m giving up liquor,” the father replied. “But before dinner you were drinking something,” the boy protested. “Yes, but that was only sherry,” said the father. “I gave up hard liquor.” To which the boy replied, “Well then, I think I’ll give up hard candy.”
Beloved brethren, though there may be lots of temptations and distractions on this journey, let us try to be focused. The transfiguration narrative enlightens our vision, strengthens our courage, solidifies our faith and increases our hope. With hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, St Paul in the second reading (2 Timothy 1:8-10) also advices us to accept in good faith the hardship that the gospel entails. Our journey of faith would expose us to several difficulties but the joy is that Jesus has won for us an everlasting life we shall inherit at the end of our journey.
Therefore, through the Good News we have shared together, may God grant us the grace to remain focused on our journey especially within this Lenten season. Happy Sunday. God loves you.
May God Bless You
Fr. S. Vinner HGN