OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Lent is a Season of preparation for the whole Paschal Triduum – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday: not just a time to reflect on the Cross. Often our Lenten devotions can focus exclusively on the Cross, and the idea of Baptism can be lost. This is why the Church invites us to join the disciples in looking beyond the cross this Sunday: we see the glory of Easter, the glory of the resurrection and the glory of the baptised. We see all this in the Transfiguration: we are invited to recognise who Jesus is. It is the glorified Jesus, whom we will celebrate at Easter, who calls us to journey through Lent, just as God called Abram to journey far from his home. So the readings lead to us acknowledge that Lent is a very special ‘calling’, to follow the Lord of glory to the renewal of baptismal purity.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4.
 
At first glance, this reading seems very brief - almost as if it has little to say. But it is very deep, because we see God (until then unknown by Abram) calling him to give up everything familiar in his life, and follow this call of faith into a foreign land. Abram steps out into the unknown, accepting God’s call. We are each called by God in baptism - and must renew our journey each Lent. The first part of the journey to membership of the Church is to accept that God is inviting you on a journey – from there begins your “enquiry”, the journey into the family of the Church. This is why we hear of Abram today. Take your time reading this - it is a short text, so you can afford to be a little slower. Stress that God is asking Abram to give up so much: ‘leave your country, your family, and your father’s house.’
 
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1:8-10.
 
This takes up the theme of the first reading: ‘God called us to be holy’, just as he called Abram. He calls us by his grace, which is revealed in the Appearing of Jesus - this is the grace and glory revealed in the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration was for a purpose: “Jesus wanted to teach the disciples, through the Law and the prophets, that the promised Christ had first to suffer and so come to the glory of his resurrection.” (Preface). This explains the beginning of Paul’s letter: ‘bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News’. We bear our sufferings, because Jesus has called us to pass through them to resurrection, as he did. This reading really is Good News: proclaim it with confidence!

From the Catechism

The Transfiguration
CCC 554-556. 568

The obedience of Abraham
CCC 59, 145-146, 2570-2572

Characteristics of faith
CCC 153-159

God manifests his glory to make known his will
CCC 2059

Christ is for us
CCC 603, 1373, 2634, 2852
 
CCC 554 - 556
From the day Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Master "began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. . . and be killed, and on the third day be raised." Peter scorns this prediction, nor do the others understand it any better than he. In this context the mysterious episode of Jesus' Transfiguration takes place on a high mountain, before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, James and John. Jesus' face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking "of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem". A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
For a moment Jesus discloses his divine glory, confirming Peter's confession. He also reveals that he will have to go by the way of the cross at Jerusalem in order to "enter into his glory". Moses and Elijah had seen God's glory on the Mountain; the Law and the Prophets had announced the Messiah's sufferings. Christ's Passion is the will of the Father: the Son acts as God's servant; the cloud indicates the presence of the Holy Spirit. "The whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud."
On the threshold of the public life: the baptism; on the threshold of the Passover: the Transfiguration. Jesus' baptism proclaimed "the mystery of the first regeneration", namely, our Baptism; the Transfiguration "is the sacrament of the second regeneration": our own Resurrection. From now on we share in the Lord's Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body." But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God": Peter did not yet understand this when he wanted to remain with Christ on the mountain. It has been reserved for you, Peter, but for after death. For now, Jesus says: "Go down to toil on earth, to serve on earth, to be scorned and crucified on earth. Life goes down to be killed; Bread goes down to suffer hunger; the Way goes down to be exhausted on his journey; the Spring goes down to suffer thirst; and you refuse to suffer?"

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