Second Sunday of Lent Year B: Reflections – Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Gen 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Ps 116:10, 15,16-19; Rom 8:31b-34 and Mark 9:2-10
Listening to Christ in Our Neighbors,
Listening or hearing is one of the exercises that all of us do when with the Grace of God we wake up each morning. We listen to our heart beats, to our bodies. We listen to the radio and the media, the news. We listen to one another, parents, children, teachers and neighbors. We listen or pay attention to homilies and Sermons in all the liturgical seasons of the Year especially during the Season of Lent, a time of grace and a special moment for yearning and responding to God’s love. What is striking to me in the Bible lessons of today, not only in the transfiguration narrative but in the story of Sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, is our invitation to pay attention to God’s plan of salvation and the glorious mystery of the Cross championed by Christ.
Remember in Genesis 12 Abraham listened to God and embarked on a faith journey. His only GPS was faith as he risked travelling to the land God would show him. He is called today to sacrifice his only son from Sarah, Isaac (Gen 22). Abraham is able to listen through the testing period as directed by God, resulting in blessings upon Abraham and his descendants down to us.
Similarly in the transfiguration episode, on mount Tabor, the disciples of Christ, Peter, James and John once saddened by Jesus prediction of his journey to the Cross (Mk 9:1) and the cost of discipleship ( Mk 8:34-38) are once shown the glorious face of Jesus, his beauty. It is so glorious and comfortable up there such that Peter not realizing the mystery of the cross quickly proposed a tent’s construction one Elijah, Moses and Christ. This proposal is once again met with advice from heaven, “this is my beloved son listen to him” (Mk 9:7b, Matt 17:5), a divine affirmation of Jesus, the new Moses, the new prophet and his ministry.
During this lent we want not only to be like Abraham, we want to sacrifice our patience by listening to Christ in a renewed way, his message of forgiveness; His message of change of heart and transformation (Lk 15, Rom 12:2). We want to reflect on the meaning of Christ’s baptism which we all share (Jn 3:5) and the mystery of his cross which anticipates the resurrection. Paul understood this mystery. We want to be like Paul. He says today,” If God is for us nothing can be against us” (Rom 8:31-34), and this we want to listen to. We want to see in our daily crosses the joy of the resurrection, the mount Tabor experience that awaits us at Easter. We also want to listen to Christ’s message of Love (I Cor 7) and charity that the church encourages us to incorporate into our Lenten discipline, those practical and spiritual works of mercy, for “ whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers/sisters and neighbors (the poor, the needy, the aged, the sick, the oppressed and those affected by tsunamis, natural disasters and deprivations of political and religious freedom) so you do unto me” (Matt 25:35-40). And these include listening to them.
As we journey through lent, let us pray for the grace God to always recognize the voice and the glorious face of Christ in our lives’ events, particularly in listening to and in being sincerely presence for neighbors.