Saturday, March 19, 2011

Second Sunday of Lent Year C Reflections- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Second Sunday of Lent Year C: Reflections – Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27:1, 7-9, 13-14; Phil 3:17–4:1 and Luke 9:28b-36.

Self –Giving for the Sake of All

Definitely Lenten Season prepares us for the mysteries of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. The readings of this Sunday narrate God’s Covenant with Abraham (Gen 15:5-12, 17-18).  It narrates Paul’s preaching of the Cross of Christ to  the Church Philippi (Phil 3:17–4:1) as well as Luke’s Tabor transfiguration narrative of Jesus which has its parallels in Matthew 17:1-9 and Mark 9:2-10,  read in Years A and B of past liturgical cycles. I want to identify in all these narratives put together, the cost of true-prophetic discipleship, obedience to God and the spirituality of self-giving for the sake all.

In the First reading (Gen 15) God made a covenant with Abraham, his faithful servant. Abraham was faithful in his mission to be the founder of God’s people. His journeys were not were not without sacrifices, “crosses” of detachment, changes and adjustment to a new life situation and new people on the pilgrim way.  Abraham on his journeys also braved faithfully childlessness of Sarah (Gen 11:31; 16ff), the threats of Pharaoh (Gen 12:10-20) over his beautiful wife, Sarah and the testing of what to do with his son Isaac “the sacrifice,”(Gen 22), the defeat of the Eastern kings without looting (Gen 14:17-24).  Abraham put his faith in the Lord, who credited to him as an act of righteousness. He is promised the land and abundant blessings upon his descendants, down to us- a self-emptying.

Behind today’s story of Tabor transfiguration of Jesus seen by many as a foretaste of the joy of Easter, lies the mandate of the cross, the mandate of the suffering discipleship which Jesus announce to his disciples in Luke chapter 9:22-26 (cf Mk 9:1;Matt 16:24-28). Christ says, “the son of man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and killed, and on third day be raised” (Lk 9:22). Then he says anyone who wants to come after him must abandoned him or herself and takes up the cross daily and follows him. Sometimes we like the easy way. Peter and his friends would have loved to remain permanently and gloriously in a tent with their Master Christ on Tabor alongside Elijah and Moses. But as God’s son it was necessary for Christ to get to the Cross in Jerusalem before the joy of Easter- a journey that must be imitated by every single disciple of Christ.

Paul understood also how to imitate Christ (Phil 3:17–4:1), in his courage and self-surrender in the face of the suffering death. Beaten, tortured, ship- wrecked and imprisoned says, even from prison, “join with others in being imitators of me—many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ, they are occupied with earthly things rather that heavenly things.

As we journey through lent together let us pray for the grace to imitate the suffering death of Christ by the way we respond in faith to the difficulties of this life. And by the way show kindness and acts of charity to any human being we meet on our pilgrim ways as God’s people, descendants of Abraham and imitators of Paul and Christ.