Fr Vincent's reflections on the 2nd Sunday of Lent

On this Second Sunday of Lent, the gospel event of the Transfiguration is given to us for prayer and reflection.  While part of this event was to show the apostles the heavenly glory of Jesus, it was also to remind us that we need to listen to Jesus if we hope to share in that heavenly glory.

 

Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 2nd Sunday of Lent

Read the narrative:

                                                            Second Sunday of Lent                         (Feb. 28, 2021)

 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.      R/.  Amen.

 

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.             R/.  And with your spirit.

 

On this Second Sunday of Lent, let us pray:

 

O God, who have commanded us

    to listen to your beloved Son,

    be pleased, we pray,

    to nourish us inwardly by your word,

    that, with spiritual sight made pure,

    we may rejoice to behold your glory.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

    who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.                                                                         R/.  Amen.

 

Please pause this video and retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.

The Gospel today is Mark 9:2-10.

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

 

Jesus took Peter, James, and John

    and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.

And he was transfigured before them,

    and his clothes became dazzling white,

    such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.

Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,

    and they were conversing with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,

    “Rabbi, it is good that we are here!

Let us make three tents:

    one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;

    from the cloud came a voice,

    “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.”

Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone

    but Jesus alone with them.

 

As they were coming down from the mountain,

    he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,

    except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

So they kept the matter to themselves,

    questioning what rising from the dead meant.

 

The Gospel of the Lord.                                                                        R/.  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The story of the Transfiguration is given to us on the Second Sunday of Lent for the same reason Jesus himself brought Peter, John, and James up the mountain.  Jesus knew what was coming – his arrest, torture, and crucifixion – would be too hard for the apostles to handle without some sense of what was to come afterward.  The Church gives us this Scripture reading near the beginning of Lent to help us persevere in our Lenten sacrifices because we know that there is a future beyond the cross of this moment.

Yet, there is more to this Scripture than just a vision of the future glory of heaven.  Let’s listen to our Opening Prayer of the Mass again, to hear the direction we need to follow.

    O God, who have commanded us

    to listen to your beloved Son,

    be pleased, we pray,

    to nourish us inwardly by your word,

    that, with spiritual sight made pure,

    we may rejoice to behold your glory.

You see, our prayer actually focuses on the scriptural command from God the Father:  This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.  So, when we are facing difficulties and need help to persevere in our spiritual life and practices, we must realize that the answer to our prayer is actually in our effort to listen to Jesus and pay attention to his words.  God does not need to do something supernatural – give us a vision like the Transfiguration – to respond to our needs.  He has already responded through the teachings of Jesus, and our prayers are answered when we obey those teachings.  You and I tend to keep waiting for something new and spectacular to prove that God is with us.  God has been with us all along in the words of Jesus from Sacred Scripture.  Reading the Bible and following the teachings of Jesus can be answer enough if only we pay attention to all that Jesus has already said!

Our prayer says just that when we add:  be pleased to nourish us inwardly by your word.  This is acknowledging that the words of Jesus from the Bible give us spiritual life and nourish, that is, fill us with sufficient goodness, that we can succeed with all the expectations of life.  All our prayers have been answered, and we are now capable of accomplishing the expectations of Jesus.  Not only do we have sufficient grace to succeed at our particular Lenten activities, but everything that life throws at us can be handled by what we can learn from Jesus.

The problem for most of us is that we don’t listen as closely as we should.  And we don’t seek to see the spiritual side of life as clearly as we ought.  Thus, our prayer adds:  with spiritual sight made pure.  This is where the real prayer for help is voiced.  We know Jesus is God’s beloved Son, and we know Jesus has given us all the instruction we need, if we listen, but we often fail to listen and fail to see, so we are asking God to help us open our ears and clear our sight.  We humble ourselves to acknowledge that I am often the cause of my own unanswered prayers because I am not doing my part!  I am expecting God to do the miraculous for me but not moving myself to be attentive to what is already offered from Jesus.

So, our desire to enter the glory of Heaven, as we see in the Transfiguration, will be accomplished when you and I finally give Jesus the attention he deserves, and we listen and do as he commands.  The sacrifices and penances of this Lenten season are possible for us because Jesus has shown us the way and taught us how to follow him.  We just need to buckle down and do as he has asked of us.

God bless!

 

Final Blessing:

The Lord be with you.                                                                           R/.  And with your spirit.

 

Bow down for the blessing.

    Bless your faithful, we pray, O Lord,

    with a blessing that endures for ever,

    and keep them faithful

    to the Gospel of your Only Begotten Son,

    so that they may always desire and at last attain

    that glory whose beauty he showed in his own Body,

    to the amazement of his Apostles.

Through Christ our Lord.                                                                    R/.  Amen.

 

And may the blessing of almighty God,

the Father, and the Son, X and the Holy Spirit,

come down on you and remain with you for ever.                            R/.  Amen.