for Sunday, March 1, 2015
God did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all - this phrase
from the second reading today, from the Letter to the Romans, is the theme
for this Second Sunday of Lent. We can hardly imagine that a father would
hand over his own son to die for others. We could not imagine that such a
father would have any love for his own son. The accounts that we are given
in Scripture sometimes leave us with enormous questions and enormous doubts
that it can really be of God.
Yet, if we read the Scriptures with open hearts, we come to find the wisdom
of God there. The first reading today, from the Book of Genesis, is the
story of Abraham being will to kill his own son because he believed that
God was asking that of him. Was Abraham wrong? Is it just a story? Is
there any morality in it? All those kinds of questions are justified.
Yet, we are called to read with faith and to understand the meaning of the
story: a person must be willing to give up everything for God.
All of us know this. No one, not even the persons that we most love,
should interfere in our relationship with the living God. Yet we must pray
that those whom we love can walk with us in the relationship to God, rather
than get in our way. Even when we know that a relationship is perhaps not
the best for us in terms of our religious practice, we can still pray that
it might change. That is what we do when we love others. But at the end,
we must be willing to give up all for the sake of God.
The Gospel today, from Saint Mark, is about the Transfiguration of Christ.
Always the first Sunday of Lent is about the temptations in the desert and
the second is about the transfiguration. These two experiences go hand in
hand, and in both of them there is an awareness of some special
relationship with God, some special manifestation of spirit (even of
Spirit) in which the people around Jesus feel and experience something
Jesus is baptized and is willing to give everything for God. Jesus is
tempted in the desert and is willing to give everything for God. Jesus is
transfigured and the disciples with Him remember this experience after His
suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus is willing to give all for God.
The challenge of the Gospel for us today is very clear and very stark: Am
I willing to give everything for God? This is the challenge of Lent. We
would like to give all for God and yet we don't. Lent is to help us
continue to move into action our deepest desire: all for God.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Genesis 22.1-2, 9-13, 15-18
Second Reading: Romans 8.31b-35, 37++
Gospel: Mark 9.2-10
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: