Spiritual readings for Sunday 25th of February
19 February 2018 CGI news
Week of 19th February 2018 (reference: readings for Sunday 25th February)
2nd Sunday of Lent - Year B - Reading: Gen 22,1-2.9a.10-13.15-18; Rom 8,31b-34; Psalm 115 (116); Mk 9,2-10
"This is my beloved son: listen to him."
On the second Sunday of Lent, the Word of God invites us to exercise effective LISTENING. Abraham listened to the Angel of God, when he asked him to sacrifice his son; then he listened to the same Angel, when he stopped the sacrifice at the last moment and, finally, he heard God's plan for him and followed him: "because you obeyed my voice, in your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed". In the second reading, Paul says to the Romans that only God is necessary to reach happiness in our life: "If God is with us, who will be against us?" Finally, in the Gospel, Peter, James and John had not understood well the message of Jesus’ Transfiguration. It was necessary that the Angel of God said clearly and aloud that Jesus was the Messiah and that he should be heard: "this is my beloved Son: listen to him".
"The very harsh test of faith" that God imposes on Abraham serves to depict him as the model of Christian. Abraham listens to the call of God and immediately says "here I am". When God tells him to sacrifice his own son, he does not question it, he does not argue, he does not seek answers to the incomprehensible drama. He simply gets up early in the morning, prepares the things for the sacrifice and sets off. When the Angel tells him not to do any harm to the child, he listens once again and understands God’s message, offering the sacrifice of a ram. The test of Abraham's faith opened a path not only for the new life of his son, but for the birth of God’s people, as heirs of Abraham. God transforms our offering of faith in a good for the whole mankind. All this is very similar to what God really does, when he offers his Son as a sacrifice for us.
In the Gospel of the Jesus’ Transfiguration, Peter, James and John are helpful with Jesus: Peter says that he wants to build tents to stay in the mount, because there was peace. But they had not listened to Christ’s message correctly. They had already perceived that Jesus was the liberating Messiah of Israel, but they still believed that Jesus’ messianic mission was going to materialize in a military victory over the Roman oppressors. For this reason, in a very symbolic way, the message comes as an epiphany (manifestation of God in a non-conventional form for human beings).
As Vincentians and human beings, we are used to undergo tests of faith. When we are not sure about staying or not in the Conference, when we hesitate to make a visit rather than going to any other place where we are called, or even when we doubt about the actual presence of Christ in the person of the poor. Our perseverance in listening to God is what makes us overcome the doubts of faith. God manifests in a spectacular way during the Vincentian visit and in the life of the Conference. In these two places, we perceive very clearly the presence of the “beloved son of God". The encounter with Christ in the person of the assisted person reinforces our belief that God is indeed with us and, therefore, no one and nothing that is against us, has the power to draw us away from Him.