Mass Reading Reflection

They saw no one else but Jesus alone: A Reflection on the Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent 2017

Yes, it is true, another week has passed and we find ourselves here in the Second Sunday of Lent. Maybe you are feeling great about how your Lent is going so far. Or maybe you have already abandoned your Lenten resolution. Or maybe it has been a bit of mixed bag for you. No matter how you are feeling about the state of your Lenten journey, it is not too late to recommit and strive to use this time to draw closer to Christ. I know that my Lent has not been perfect; I began Ash Wednesday with a forehead full of ashes and a list of ways I wanted to be better and more holy. By the end of the day I found that I had fallen short of my goals. However, I want to encourage you, Lent is NOT about perfection or always measuring up to some abstract principle. Lent is about growth and moving closer to union with God. So if Lent has got you feeling down, pick up that sack cloth and join me on an imperfect journey through the rest of Lent. And now on to our reflection…

Knowing that I was going to write a blog post about these readings I have been reflecting on the readings from Genesis, 2 Timothy, and Matthew all week long. I particularly focused in upon the Gospel which is the beautiful story of the Transfiguration. There is so much that can be said about this beautiful story of Jesus showing forth his glory to Peter, James, and John to gird them for the trials to come. However, the thing that struck me most about this story is that this Jesus who showed forth his majesty to these three select apostles is the very same Jesus that comes to us each time in the Eucharist.

I can hardly even imagine what it must have been like for Peter, James, and John atop a high mountain with Jesus. Although they had a good idea of who Jesus was, he was still a man to them. For them to see his face shining like the sun and his clothes becoming white as light must have shook them. To see Moses and Elijah, two great men of their Jewish faith, standing beside him must have made them stop to question, who really is this man? As if that were not enough, then a voice from the cloud speaks identifying Jesus as the “beloved Son”. Could this have been the first time these men really began to truly perceive Jesus’ identity as the divine SON of GOD?

What leaves me in awe is that this Jesus, who showed the fullness of his glory to these special three men, shows his glory to us in every Eucharist. This Jesus whose face shines like the sun, whose garments are white as light, who truly is God’s beloved Son, chooses to dwell within me EACH and EVERY time I receive the Holy Eucharist. This is ever an awakening call for me to cherish and celebrate each and every Mass in which I have the privilege of participating. With four little children in the pews it can get downright crazy trying to focus in upon the mysteries unfolding in front of me. However, if the God of the universe can come to dwell in me—body, blood, soul, and divinity—I must never allow the reception of this great sacrament to become overly quotidian, it can never be a task undertaken without due reverence or thought. Even despite the craziness I must create a space where I can truly reflect upon the great mystery that is happening right in front of my eyes. I need to stop long enough to praise God for this immeasurable gift!

As I said in this post, the readings each day at Mass are not a random selection, they are carefully chosen. Just like many other times, I think that the two readings that accompany the Gospel this week can shed some light on the Gospel itself. In the First Reading from Genesis 12, we hear about Abram going forth from the land of his fathers. In this reading, God makes Abram a promise that, “All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.” If this is true of Abram, how much more is it true of Jesus? Through Abram all nations were brought to worship and knowledge of the true God. However, through Jesus we are adopted as sons and daughters of God and given to share in the divine life through the Eucharist. Now that is a blessing beyond compare!

In the Second Reading from 2 Timothy, we hear that Jesus, “destroyed death and brought life and immortality.” It is precisely through the events which we mediate upon during this Lenten season that Jesus destroyed death. By literally giving us his body in the Eucharist, our eternal death is avoided and we are brought to true life and immortality. Each time we are priviledged to receive the Eucharist we participate in this sacrifice of Jesus and reunite ourselves to him.

Just like Peter, James, and John at the end of the story of the Transfiguration, at the end of our earthly lives, we will be left with this one thing—no one else but Jesus alone! When I reach that point, I want to be greeted by Jesus, my dear friend, the one whom I knew well from frequent prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments.

I pray that you have a lovely Lenten week and stay close to our Savior in the gift of the Holy Eucharist.

©Unrepeatable Blessings Blog 2017

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