Thoughts on the Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Lent (C) 2016

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022116.cfm 

This weekend we observe the second Sunday of the season of Lent.  Each year on this Sunday we read one of the accounts of the Transfiguration.  Luke’s account varies only slightly from the accounts of Matthew and Mark.  Specifically, Luke tells us that Jesus was “at prayer” when the transfiguration occurred, and at the end of the Transfiguration Luke includes the statement that “They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.”   

What is most important about the three accounts of the Transfiguration is what they have in common.  The incident takes place on a mountain, which in Jewish history was the place of divine encounter.  Also, in each account Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus.   Moses represented the law and Elijah the prophets, the two foundations of the Jewish religion.  Finally, in each account there is a voice from heaven identifying Jesus as the beloved or chosen son, followed by the imperative statement:  “Listen to him.”  

We read the account of the Transfiguration at the beginning of our Lenten journey, to remind us of the life that ultimately awaits us.    

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of Genesis.   It is the story of the covenant God made with Abraham (then Abram).  Two things are significant in this reading.  The first is God’s word to Abraham:  “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.”  Just so,………. shall your descendants be.”   This promise is significant because at that time (and even today) Jewish people did not have a clear sense of an afterlife.   The believed that you lived on through your descendants.  Thus it was important to have children ---- so you would always be remembered.  The second thing that is significant is God’s promise“To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.”  Even today the Jews hold dear this promise.   

The second reading for this weekend is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians.  In it Paul urges people to “stand firm in the Lord.” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. Certainly the Transfiguration was a singular and unique event.  I suspect, though, that we have all had “transfiguring” (with a small “t”) moments in our lives.   When have you felt the presence and/or power of God in your life?
  2. Have you ever felt God inviting you to “listen” to the words of Jesus?  
  3. Have you ever failed to stand firm in the Lord? 
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