18 Feb Lent 2 C
Fr. Alan Hartway, CPPS
Guardian Angels Parish in Mead, CO
|Lent means to transform us into conformity with Christ in the flesh and in the resurrection. So the Lenten sojourner witnesses the transfiguration of Christ, and thus is enabled to enter into a deeper understanding of the Paschal Mystery for one’s self. Thus, a significant milestone in the Lenten walk with Jesus is attained. Lent calls us to change, or rather let the Spirit be at work in us to change us. The conformity is not an oppression, but a lifting up of the self into what God has called us to be.|
FIRST READING: Genesis 15, 5-12. 17-18
Abraham welcomes a stranger into his tent; it is God. Abraham, anxious to have a proper heir, implores God for help. Abraham is awed by the starry sky, and in the night is overcome by the mystery of God. When was the last time you saw the starry sky and Milky Way? A covenant is cut between them in mystery and awe in the middle of the night. A side note the fire pot used to be a “flaming brazier” inevitably mispronounced by lectors as a “flaming brassiere.” The revised translation avoids the resultant giggling.
Vss. 5-6: CCCC 762 In the Church, Abraham becomes the father of a great people; Israel as God’s people points to the human family united as God’s people.
Vs. 5: CCC 146, 288 Creation itself reveals the forthcoming covenant with God, as Abraham saw the multitude of the stars; he witnessed and believed in God’s infinite goodness, beauty and love.
Vs. 6: CCC 146, 2571 Abraham’s action is defined in Hebrews 11, 1, where the Bible defines faith. As Abraham risked welcoming the stranger into his tent, his hospitality foreshadows the Annunciation and Mary’s welcome to Jesus within her. This changes their lives forever. Are we hospitable to God?
|KNOW YOUR FAITH||What does the passage mean by saying “an act of righteousness”?|
What is a covenant?
|LIVE YOUR FAITH||When was the last time you looked up at the stars and found yourself marveling at God’s creative love and beauty?|
What is Hebrews 11,1 definition of faith? Share your thoughts on this.
|SHARE YOUR FAITH||The Hebrew people were a mix of many tribal peoples who joined them at one stage or another of their history. How do we join ourselves in faith to others today?|
Why is hospitality often the first and most important step in evangelization? Offer a prayer to the patron of hospitality, St. Josephine Bakhita.
|WORSHIP||At the Eucharistic consecration, Jesus speaks of a new covenant. Share your reflections on what this means.|
What is the fraction rite at Mass?
RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 27, 1. 7-8, 8-9. 13-14
Seeing God’s face is the deepest human yearning in cultures deeper than ours. This reflects themes in the first and gospel readings this Sunday. Abraham sees God and visits with God face to face. The Apostles witness the transfiguration of Jesus and see his divinity face to face. This is our heart’s desire. The desire of the wicked on the other hand is to see peoples’ destruction. A secondary note in our responsorial verses is waiting; Abrahams has to wait patiently for God’s plan to unfold. In the same way the apostles have to wait for the unfolding of the mystery of the cross in their lives. And here is the connection to Lent. We are invited into a different pace of life and a different set of values to infuse our intentionality in life. Waiting isn’t necessarily the best thing we do in the West.
Vs. 8: CCC 2730 Reflecting on the difficulties of prayer, vigilance and sobriety of heart are cultivated in prayer to fight the possessive and dominating self. In other words our desires are redirected from the self to the Other.
|KNOW YOUR FAITH||What is the deepest longing of the human heart?|
What is the ultimate goodness of God that this psalmist is petitioning to see?
|LIVE YOUR FAITH||“Whom should I fear?” questions the psalmist. We live in a culture of fear mongering. How can we transform our thinking?|
Why does the “self” resist prayer?
|SHARE YOUR FAITH|| What is the core of the gospel good news that the church brings to people?|
What are the major or biggest things changing for you in our world today that is for the better?
|WORSHIP||How can you cultivate vigilance and sobriety of heart for deeper prayer?|
Share your reflections on seeing Jesus in the liturgy in your parish.
SECOND READING: Philippians 3, 17- 4,1
The larger context is Paul’s warning about the false teachers; he is quite adamant here and uses some very strong language, even calling them dogs, a typical ancient epithet for barbarians. In the late Hellenistic culture rife with materialistic spiritualities (much like our own time), various teachers and miracle working frauds arose to aggrandize on the situation for monetary gain. St. Paul here uses the rhetoric of condemnation and of justification, yet note that his response to those who live in and according to the flesh only move Paul to tears of compunction at the sadness of things. The teachings here are a sign of his capacity for mercy. There’s the famous line “our citizenship is in heaven” which seems countercultural for a USA person to say; certainly in heaven there will be no more libertarians, political parties, or even nationalities. But Paul’s main point is the conforming of ourselves even in the body to the body of Christ. This has all sorts of implications for issues around a theology of the body and purity that are difficult issues in our cultural mind set. The bottom line here is “stand firm in the Lord.”
Vs. 20: CCC 1003, 2796 Our life in Christ is really present now, but in another sense hidden until the resurrection. Through our communion in the Body of Christ, we must surely now share in the resurrection of Christ in the here and how. The “our” in the Lord’s prayer proclaims that we are the People and Children of God. In a first century letter Ad Diognetus, “(Christians) spend their lives on earth, but are citizens of heaven.”
Vs. 21: CCC 556, 999 The Transfiguration proclaims our second regeneration through the resurrection; our first is baptism. Christ is raised in his own body, yet this lowly body will be changed into a spiritual body. What goes into the ground as seed, comes forth as fruit.
|KNOW YOUR FAITH||What precisely does the Church teach from Scripture and Tradition about the Resurrection?|
What does it mean to say that we are citizens of heaven?
|LIVE YOUR FAITH||How are you living the resurrection right now in your life?|
What does the teaching that we are to be conformed to Christ mean to you
|SHARE YOUR FAITH||How does Resurrection fit into our evangelization?|
Share your reflections on the constitutional concept of the separation of Church and State.
|WORSHIP||How do we experience the risen Lord at the Mass?|
How do you think about the Eucharist?
GOSPEL: Luke 9, 28b-36 The Transfiguration
Notice that this occurs eight days (a resurrection reference) after Jesus is acknowledged by Peter as the Christ which leads Jesus to teach the paschal mystery (suffering, dying, rising), and to teach about the practical implications and challenges of discipleship; then he is at prayer, already a sign of union with the Father, which the apostles could visibly see was being altered. His “departure” is actually the word “exodus” in Greek. The white clothes and dazzling face represent the joy of the Father’s presence. The apostles are overcome with sleep (death?) and only witness the departure of the vision. The whole experience is quite fleeting. Peter’s proposes tents as if to capture God somehow and live unrealistically in the kingdom of God without the cross and suffering. Teachings about Jesus’ mission, his glory, and his suffering fill this incident. As in the other gospels, the apostles are ordered to silence, because they would be talking about something that they do not yet fully understand.
Vs. 28: CCC 2600 Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his ministry.
Vss. 30-35: CCC 2583 God revealed himself throughout salvation history, but only partially and through a veil, but in the Transfiguration the revelation is full and complete. The apostles see Jesus’ glory as the Son of God.
Vs. 31: CCC 554, 1151 From the moment of Peter’s profession of faith, Jesus begins to teach about the core mission he has – suffering, dying, and rising. Throughout his ministry in healing and in preaching, Jesus uses signs from the natural and created world to point to spiritual realities.
Vs. 33: CCC 556 Refer above to the second reading.
Vss. 34-35: CCC 659, 697 We believe in the complete glorification of the physical body of Christ at the Resurrection, yet he went on for forty days after that to live, eat, and teach with the apostolic community; then in the Ascension Christ takes his place at the Father’s right hand forever. The cloud at the Transfiguration and the light are always to be understood as symbols of the divine presence, and especially of the Holy Spirit.
Vs. 35: CCC 556 See above.
|KNOW YOUR FAITH||What is the Paschal Mystery in three words?|
What is a theophany? And why do we need such a vision?
|LIVE YOUR FAITH||Have you been praying before the decisive moments in your life? Share a story.|
Share your reflections on seeing the glory of Jesus.
|SHARE YOUR FAITH||When we say we believe “in” Jesus, what do we mean exactly?|
How does this moment in the life of Jesus show up in our evangelization?
|WORSHIP||Share your favorite and most meaningful symbol that the Church uses in Liturgy of the transfiguration occurs in resurrection.|
Reflect on our own profession of faith in the Creed during the Mass, and perhaps focus on the core of that long statement.