Second Sunday of Lent - Scripture Soundings
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
God initiates the dialogue with Abram, calling him to a new beginning, a fresh start away from home. Abram obeys, but why? Not because God promises a large number of descendants (although God does), but because Abram simply chooses to obey.
In the second reading, Timothy struggles with the call. Paul, the person he looks up to, is in prison. "How degrading to be in contact with a common criminal!" But it is a "common criminal" who hangs from the cross at Golgotha. Some time before that event, three apostles witness a tremendous change in Jesus, the dazzling face and white clothing. With him are Moses and Elijah also enveloped in radiant white light. Peter, James, and John, with Jesus at the Transfiguration, will also be there at Gethsemane.
The high mountain is a meeting place. God comes down and the disciples go up. It is a logical place to worship and so Peter prostrates himself and suggests building three tents. Jesus touches Peter, James, and John and tells them to rise up and not be afraid. He sends them off to a new beginning just as he sends us, to go forth as disciples.
God has called each of us to a faith journey. It is God who initiates in us the desire to follow, just as it was God who called Abram and Timothy, and Jesus who gathered the disciples. Nowhere does God ever say the journey will be easy. There was much to suffer for Abram, for Jesus and the disciples, and yes, for us, too.
We can begin our new faith journey with different reactions. You recall that we don't hear Abram complain in Genesis. He obeys God's call without question. It's a marvel how people like Abram and Sarah have such faith, hope, and obedience. In our society today, "speaking our mind" and "being heard" are encouraged instead. Timothy, on the other hand, was reluctant. He procrastinated and avoided Paul. He was embarrassed that Paul was in prison.
It is the Gospel, however, that has the power to change us and to mark new beginnings in our lives. How will we respond to God's call?
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Updated: May 11, 2008