February 28: Second Sunday of Lent. Readings: 1. Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18; Psalm: 116B; 2. Romans 8:31-34; Gospel: Mark 9:2-10.
These readings contain the core message of our faith. And as we enter into the spirit of Lent, it is good for us to take a moment to review and reflect on what is of the essence in these texts.
The scene recounted in Genesis is one of the most dramatic pieces of biblical storytelling. It leaves us in absolutely no doubt about Abraham’s faith. The test that God set Abraham demanded of him extraordinary trust in the Lord, even to point of having to sacrifice his beloved only son. However, by passing the test with flying colours, his obedient action is to be remembered as the beginning of universal blessing. And for us who come to faith much later in the history of the world, that is particularly relevant.
Paul in Romans reminds us of another dramatic and significant moment in history when God and his Son, the Christ, made that superior sacrificial offering that is enacted for the salvation of all people. This memory is recalled to aid our every effort to pay due honour to the great divinely-revealed gift. For, without faith and its abundant gracious blessings, we would be without hope and strength of spirit.
Like the Genesis mountain setting, the transfiguration scene reveals how God and Jesus, the Son of Man, have planned to bring all of salvation history to a fitting conclusion. And so, as we hear this Gospel passage from Mark, we become witnesses to the way in which God draws us to himself, inviting us to live communally, contemplating the wonders of biblical revelation.
Seeing ourselves caught up in the mystery of faith, we look ahead to the end of Lent, and even beyond to the end of time. Anticipating where the Good News may lead us, we must keep focused.