Second Sunday of Lent

03-05-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

 The sacred scripture this weekend is actually about new beginnings and also transformations which start new beginnings. We can often get lost in the words of scripture because much of it does not easily scan with the modern mind, and as a result, we miss what the scripture is really about. I often think that scripture is like manuals which come with new electronics or new software programs. We know the words, and they are written in sentences, but what they really do mean is beyond us. People who write manuals are supposedly “technical writers” who are to give the reader and user a set of directions which are practical and can be followed. Yet, manuals like scripture often need someone in between to help to understand the written words. When someone starts to “decode” the first reading we learn that God had promised Abram (soon to be called Abraham) a rich heritage and numerous descendants and all he had to do for these promises was leave his home. In the Gospel, the Transfiguration is one of the most awesome changes or transformations recorded in scripture.

The story of Abraham is about his journey. From this story, we are to conclude we are on a journey and we are not alone at all, in fact God is always with us. God started the verbal interchange with Abram, calling him to a new beginning, a fresh and brand new start away from home. Why did Abram (at that point) accept and obey? We learn that it is not because of the wonderful promises God made, but Abram simply did, and we do not really know why. We are supposed to conclude it was faith. Not because God had promised a large number of descendants (although God did), but because Abram simply choose to obey.

Timothy, in our second reading, also struggled to accept the call of God. Paul who is inviting him, is now a criminal and in jail. Yet, again, it appears that it is faith that had Timothy answer the call.

It is subtle, but significant that when Jesus is transformed, God came down and the apostles actually have gone up. Despite the confusion by the three apostles and misdirection by Peter, Jesus told them to rise up and sent them off on a new beginning. Their journey would not be easy; indeed there would be some suffering, but also joy and happiness.

We are to conclude from all this drama that we are also called to be on a journey of faith. We are to be changed or transformed by Jesus as we walk along with Him throughout our life. Jesus gives us the hope, strength and grace to be changed and to follow Him.

Father Brian