SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT (A) – 21st February 2016

Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE SUFFER AND DIE WITH JESUS CHRIST SO AS TO RISE WITH HIM TO A NEW LIFE AT EASTER 

  • Genesis 12:1-4
  • Matthew 17:1-9
  1. Today is the Second Sunday of Lent. Lent is a time when we prepare for the celebration of Easter! The gospel today tells us that Lent is a time when we suffer and die with Christ so as to rise with him to a new life at Easter!

The gospel today tells us of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The gospel tells us that his face shone like the sun and his clothes was white as light! But more importantly, the gospel tells us that a bright cloud covered them and the voice of God the Father said ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, my favor rest on him, listen to him’!

To understand the gospel of today we have to read chapter 16:21-28 of Matthew, which immediately comes before today’s gospel. In Matthew 16:21-28 Jesus made his first prophecy of his Passion, that is, he had to suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day! But more than that Jesus also spelled out the conditions of discipleship, that is, to be his disciple, one has to take up the cross and follow him. The one who tries to save his own life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it! In other words, not only Jesus had to suffer and die and rise from the dead, but his disciples also had to suffer and die and rise from the dead!

This was a very new teaching, very different to all the miracles, curing of the sick, casting out devils, etc., very different from the “glorious” Messiah they thought him to be! That is why Peter who just professed his faith in Jesus as Messiah, protested to Jesus that he should not suffer and die, and Jesus responded to Peter by calling Satan: ‘Get behind me Satan, you are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think are not God’s way, but man’s way’!

It is easy to believe in a glorious Messiah who work miracles, cure the sick, cast out devils, but it is hard to believe in a Messiah who had to suffer and die and rise from the dead! We need great faith to believe in a Messiah who has to suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day! We need even greater faith to believe that we too have to suffer and die and rise with him from the dead!

The Transfiguration in the gospel today is a heavenly confirmation from God the Father that all that Jesus prophesied about his Passion and our dying and rising with him are true! The Transfiguration is a preview of Jesus’ Resurrection and Glory to show the disciples that the suffering and death of Jesus do indeed lead to Resurrection and Glory!

But more importantly, the gospel tells us that a bright cloud covered them and the voice of God the Father said ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, my favor rests on him, LISTEN TO HIM, that is, listen to him, not anymore to Moses and Elijah, and listen to him, especially on what he prophesied about his Passion and our need to carry the cross and follow him in order to find life!

The Church has chosen this gospel reading today for Lent to tell us during Lent to carry the cross and follow Jesus, to suffer and die with him, so as to rise with him to a new life at Easter! That is why the Church asks us during this time of Lent to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor, so as to suffer and die with Christ, so as to rise with him to a new life at Easter!

 

  1. The first reading is from the book of Genesis. It is on the call of Abraham! God said to Abraham, ‘leave your country, your family, and your father’s house and go to a land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and through you I will bless all the nations of the world! And Abraham left Haran (Iraq) and went to Canaan (Palestine) and God made him into a great nation and God blessed him, and through him God blessed all the nations of the world!

The Jews believe that they are that great nation of Abraham, blessed by God and through them God will bless the whole world! But we Christians also believe that we are that great nation – not through geography and politics, but through faith and spirit – blessed by God and through us God will bless the world!

Again, the Church has chosen this first reading today for Lent to tell us to make this journey of faith with Abraham to the promised land and God will make us into a great nation and bless us and through us bless the whole world!

Like Abraham we are to leave our country, family and our father’s house and go to a land God will show us and God will make us into a great nation and bless us and through us bless the world!

Again, during this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor, so as to make this journey of faith with Abraham to the promised land, where God will make us into a great nation, and bless us, and through us bless the whole world!

 

  1. Ash Wednesday was the beginning of Lent and the gospel of Ash Wednesday, that is, “Matthew 6:1-6. 16-18” told us to pray, fast and give alms! The Church asks us to pray, fast, and give alms, during this time of Lent, so as to suffer and die with Christ, so as to rise with him to a new life at Easter! A Happy Lent to all of you!

 

Amen!

 

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Msgr Nicholas Ong DD View All →

Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.

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