Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2nd Sunday of Lent 2014

For this second week of Lent we continue our journey through Salvation History. Whereas last week our readings focused on sin (through Adam) and redemption (through Jesus), this week’s readings remind us that even with our faults, we have been chosen by God. This is not an arbitrary choice, but a conscious, willful intervention by God to become closer to his creation.

The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Lent
Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Matthew 17:1-9

Our first reading from later in Genesis gives us the story of Abram (who we will later know as Abraham) and his first call by God. Up to this point Abram has been living with his wife (Sarah) and his entire extended family in the land of Haran when God comes to him and tells him to “go forth from your land… to a land that I will show you.” God is asking Abram to leave his ancestral home for a place far away that he knows nothing about, all on the promise of his blessing. Not only does this show us Abram’s level of trust in God, but it shows us God’s willingness to reach out – to call Abram - and take him under his wing in the hope of greater things to come. This level of trust in God is echoed in our Psalm.

Our second reading, this week from Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, has the evangelist encouraging his young protégé by reminding him that while he may face certain hardships in his ministry, the promise of the Jesus and the Gospel is worthy of his trust.  Not unlike Abram, Timothy was chosen – called – to his ministry, and though he may face certain trials, Paul reminds him that he can trust in Jesus and the Gospel.

We close with the Transfiguration story from Matthew’s gospel. Jesus, the chosen, takes Peter, James, and John, his chosen, up the mountain where is transfigured before them in brilliant light, standing with Moses and Elijah, two of the most trusted prophets called by God. It is a powerful moment, and the Apostles are almost speechless. Not only does this show the mutual trust between Jesus and his chosen disciples, but with the voice of God coming from the cloud it shows us the Father’s trust in his Son.

Trust is a funny thing. It comes so naturally to us as if it’s built in to our DNA. A child’s trust that his parents will care for them. A trust in a friend we know will always be there for us. But trust can, and often is, betrayed. As we get older we tend to be much more cautious about giving or receiving trust, because we’ve all been burnt before. That kind of experience makes us stingy with trust. But we need to be careful, because if we’re too stingy, we can find ourselves missing the important "calls" in our lives.  You’ve probably heard the saying, “Let go and let God.” The story of Salvation, and in particular our readings for this week, remind us that God can be trusted. That the promise of Jesus and the Gospel can be trusted. We are no different than all the others we’ve read about today... Abram, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, John, Paul, Timothy, and even Jesus. They had their doubts, but they could put those aside for the voice of God. There are times where we too must but our trust in that voice, for only then will we find that our call from God is genuine, and that his love does not disappoint. 

Catholic Update:
How God Invites Us to Grow:  Six Stages of Faith Development
FindingOur Way Again:  Daily Lenten Reflections


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