2ND SUNDAY OF LENT (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 32(33); 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)
Theme: Grace Gained Changes Your Reality
My brothers and sisters let us celebrate God’s generous, gracious, and gratuitous love for us. For St Paul reminds us in the second reading that through the Epiphaneias (Appearing) of Jesus we were saved not according to our own works but by grace (charis) through our faith in Christ Jesus. Hence, we are saved not by our doing, for it is the gift of God given to us before time began but made manifest through Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
However, in today’s world some argue that the blessings of God like those of Abram who became Abraham re-echoed in the first reading are very hard to see. They concur that Abraham heard Yahweh, left his people and followed Him; hence he became famous, a great nation, and a dispenser of Yahweh’s blessing. Having also heard and followed Yahweh like Abraham, some wonder why they perceive is selfishness, discouragement, despondency, individualism, blurred visions, and people trapped in a culture of death. Then what is the point of worshipping God and what is the point of living or hoping?
In other words, we feel hopeless and cannot feel God’s love because that design of God through which Abraham was blessed and for which St Paul praised the appearing of Jesus is clouded by anger, immorality, bitter political and religious polarization, and hopelessness. Personally, I sometimes wonder whether the world would ever experience peace; I am so worried that we might not see the end of violence in the name of the name of God; and I also imagine news headlines not about viruses, suicide, knife crime, kidnapping, and medical mishaps but about family love and success. Thus, we must ask where is the turning point, and when and where will the stories of my reality change?
That turning point occurs when we let go of the past, look up, focus on and appreciate the words of the Psalmist today that the Lord is faithful and can be trusted; and that He is our help and shield, then we will develop the courage and strength to climb the mountain as Peter, James, and John did with Jesus, to experience a glorious reality that changes our bitter and painful stories. In other words, if we listen and appreciate Yahweh’s words and follow in obedience and trust, then we will be animated to discover, dream, design, and develop a new life story, a new beginning, a changed heart. Thus, ascend the mountain with Jesus, embrace His glorious reality, then prepare a new template that clears your vision, changes your story, and offers you a new path for development. But remember Psalm 24 says only people with pure hands and hearts, and who do not tell lies and worship idols shall ascend God’s mountain.