Second Sunday of Lent - 25th February, 2018

Liturgical Reflection

Gen. 22:1-2,9-13,15-18 Mark 9:2-10

In today’s first reading from Genesis we meet Abraham hearing God’s voice calling him by name and his ready response: ‘Here I am’. Perhaps one might envy Abraham’s intimacy with God, but reading the whole story we find that God here is being merciful to one who has failed to trust God’s promises, seeking to achieve them by human means. An assurance, for us, that God’s merciful forgiveness knows no limits. The Isaac story, so shocking at first reading, also becomes a demonstration that if we approach God in faith divine mercy is waiting for us.

The Gospel story presents once more the story we call the Transfiguration of Jesus, in the presence of Peter, James and John. Here again what goes before in Mark’s text is enlightening. When Jesus tried to forewarn the disciples that his mission would cost him his life, Peter immediately protested that this must not happen. But Jesus’ God, like Abraham’s God, is infinitely patient with human frailty.

So, though Jesus rebuked Peter in strong language for his lack of understanding, six days later he took him, with James and John up a high mountain to give them an experience which might strengthen their faith in him. There, together they saw their friend and teacher transformed before their eyes, his humanity clothed in the glory of God, as Moses and Elijah talked with him. Although frightened by this vision Peter sought to prolong the experience by providing tents for Jesus and the prophets to remain with them on the mountain.


Then comes the crux of the story for all who would read it. Again we hear the voice of God., addressed not to any individual; but to anyone who would become a disciple of Jesus. We are told plainly who this man from Galilee is
‘My Son, the beloved. Listen to him!’ The glorious vision vanished, and when the three men dared to look up after the sound of God’s voice, they ‘saw only Jesus’. Leading them down the mountain to the plain of daily living, he told them not to broadcast what they had seen and heard until he had risen from the dead.

‘They saw only Jesus.’ We might ask ourselves two questions. Do I see Jesus as the focal point of my life? How often and how well do I listen to him?

Mary Britt OP