Sunday Scripture Readings

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT MARCH 7 Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17, 4:1; Luke 9:28-36 OUR GOOD NEWS: We are all called — now — to transfigured existence. The Transfigura-tion is firmly incorporated into the structure of Luke’s Gospel. It follows immediately upon Jesus’ solemn promise that "some standing here ... will not taste death until they see the reign of God" (9:27). This was partially fulfilled when the three apostles "saw His glory." Second, the Transfiguration answered Herod’s crucial question about the true meaning and identification of Jesus (9:9). He had posed it in his capacity as ruler of Galilee, site of Jesus’ ministry until that time. Third, the Transfiguration marked an important phase in the training of the Galilean witnesses. The inevitability of Calvary, announced in the first Passion prediction (see 9:22), has been placed in the larger context of Jesus’ exodus ("going") into resurrection glory with the Father. There are good reasons for our reading a Gospel account of the Transfiguration every year on the Second Sunday of Lent. The fate of Jesus will be that of every faithful follower willing to accompany Him through suffering and death to Resurrection and glorified union with the Father. In former times, Lent peaked — virtually came to an end — with the Good Friday’s celebration of Tre Ore. Today’s story reminds us that Good Friday is neither the end nor the high point of our Lenten devotion. We are an Easter people, and Easter is our wholehearted goal, both liturgically and personally. Another Lenten theme in today’s Gospel is the summons to reformation of life. The tendency — with us no less than with Peter — is to be content with an inadequate but comfortable past, too easily accepting ourselves, our concrete situation and the world in which we live. Lent calls us to conversion, to a painful letting go, a turning away from selfish self-centeredness to hear and follow God’s will, now fully revealed only through His Son. The other readings reinforce the Gospel account. Abraham (first reading) is held up as our model. Like him, we are called and favored by God, who has solemnly committed Himself to bless and protect (meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection). God asks of us in return our total dedication to His saving purpose. Finally, today’s psalm offers us a complete Lenten program — a season to rejoice in the Lord’s presence and protection. "The Lord is my light and my salvation" expresses the righteous trust of Abraham, which is also expected of us. The second and third stanzas develop an allied Lenten theme: a sacred time set apart for supplication, when we beg God to fulfill His gracious promises in spite of our sinfully alienated condition. "You are my helper; cast me not off." The fourth and final unit consists of a renewed profession of confident faith, followed by hope-filled reassurance directed to other believers. This cheerful psalm reminds us that Lent is a happy time, as reflected in the second and third readings.

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