Second Sunday of Lent – Deacon Owen

2 Lent B

 Twelve days ago, we celebrated Ash Wednesday and started the holy season of Lent.  During these forty days we prepare ourselves for our progress into our eternal glory.

Today’s first reading from the book of Genesis tells us that God tested Abraham to assist his preparation.  God tested Abraham’s living faith to determine just how obedient Abraham would be.  To follow God’s Law.  This reading speaks of Abraham and Isaac, father and son and we recognize just how close a parallel this pairing is to the relationship between the Lord God and His son Jesus.  To make the comparing is reinforced when God called Abraham who answered, “Here I am.”  Abraham used the same phrase that Almighty God had used when He told Moses who he was when asked His name  Godhad answered, “…tell them I am sent you.”  These two words are prophetic in nature, implying that they foretell the arrival of Jesus in the world as the Messiah.

After calling Abraham, God the Father commanded him to take his son Isaac, whom he loved and to go to the country of Moriah to offer him there as a burnt offering on the mountain top which he will be shown.  Moriah is the very piece of land on which the great temple of God in Jerusalem was to be built.  Abraham’s son Isaac was to be offered on the same piece of land on which approximately 1850 years later Jesus would be offered for our salvation on the hill Golgotha  in the land of Moriah.  According to the 22th chapter of Genesis, the6th verse,  speaks about the trip to Moriah, Isaac  was required to carry the wood which was to be used for the burnt offering, which is a precursor of Jesus having to carry the wooden cross to his crucifixion.  Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order.  He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on the wood.  Jesus was later offered on the wood of the cross.  And examining these actions of Abraham, thepath which his off-spring were to follow become evident.

We today can recall the rest of this story; Abraham was to become the spiritual father of mankind and an ancestor of Jesus the Messiah.  He was the first of those to be saved by their living faith in God, both through the Angel of the Old Testament and in the New Testament by Jesus the Christ. Through the offspring of Abraham, the nations have learned the ways of God, the Christian faith, true righteousness, equal Justine, human rights, and all that is holy and pure and pleasing to the Lord God.

As we heard, in today’s second reading, St. Paul tells the members of the church in Rome “If God is for us, who can beagainst us?  Secondly who will bring any charges against God’s elect.  Paul’s assurance to his correspondents was that since Goddidn’t spare his own son but handed him over for our salvation how would we believe he wouldn’t give us everything else along with him?  Paul assuresus  that it was Christ Jesus who died – and who was raised and who sits in the judgment seat at the right hand of God and this Jesus fulfills his destiny and certainly intercedes for us to the end of our salvation.

Today’s Gospel is sometimes called the story of the Transfiguration.  The story is familiar:  Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain where they witnessed the transfiguration    of Jesus.  His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone on Earth could bleach them and there He appears with two other people.  The other people who appeared with Jesus were Elijah and Moses who were there symbolically representing the prophets in Elijah’s case and Moses representing the Law.  The presence of these historic characters, indicating that God’s children, who persevere, in the living faith, have and will inherited the Kingdom of God, and the fact that the Apostles who were there must have identifies for them their calling.   Peter the spokesman was overcome by what he believed was the significance of the scene indicating the incarnate presence of God in their very midst.  He even went so far as to offer to build some kind of shrine for each of the attendees.

To add to this overwhelming experience, a cloud overshadowed them and God the Father spoke, “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him!”  The cloud is symbolic of the presence of Yahweh, as it was in the story of God leading the Israelites, in the Old Testament.  The voice goes on to say “listen to Him,” but it also says, “my beloved Son” and this is the same words spoken from the cloud at the Baptism of Jesus.

Listen to Him is a command to heed Jesus words or face the music for rejecting the Word of God.

Overcome by the Divine presence of God the disciples fell on the ground and were overcome by fear.  Jesus went to them, touched them, and told them to get up and not to be afraid.  When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain, Jesus ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Coming down the mountain echoes a new Covenant parallel to Moses receiving the new covenant of the Law, he also descended a mountain carrying the two tablets of the commandments.  Now a new and everlasting covenant of Grace was about to begin.

In today’s readings we are told that living faith and perseverance leads us to eternal glory.

 Your presence here today is a sign of your living faith.  Your Christian behavior,   in the world is a sign of your perseverance in your faith.  Today, we are gathered here together so we can strengthen one another to persevere in our living faith in the hope of the eternal glory that awaits us at the end of this life.

Now as we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us ask the Lord Jesus to strengthen and preserve our living faith through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  This reinforcement is especially important to us during the Lenten Season as we reflect on our Christian lives, in preparation for the salvificdeath and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that will be celebrated on Easter Sunday.

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