2nd Sunday of Lent

Gen 12:1-4a 2 Tim 1: 8b-10 Mt 17:1-9

“This is my beloved son in I am well pleased. Listen to him”

A boy and his mother were in a drug store and there was candy on the counter and the owner spotted the boy looking at the candy, when the mother went up to pay the owner said to the boy “you want some of this candy”. The boy nodded, and the manager said “well go ahead and take some”. Well the boy just stood there, and again the owner said “go ahead and get a handful of candy”. The boy still stood there then the owner reached in the jar and pulled out some candy and gave it to the boy and the boy filled his pockets. When they got outside the mother said “Why didn’t you get a handful of candy the man told you it was O.K.” The boy said, “Because his hands were bigger than mine”.

The choice we have in this life is: do we want God’s plans for our lives, or do we want our own plans instead? Jesus always sought God’s plan. Before taking an major step in his life he sought the plan of his heavenly Father. Last Sunday we reflected how Jesus was determined to carry out God’s ways rather than the ways of the devil. In today’s gospel we see Jesus taking his disciples to the mountain to pray just before his passion and death on the cross. He sought always God’s will. And what about us? Do we want God’s plans for our lives, or do we want our own plans instead? If it comes down to a choice, I’d prefer God’s plans. God’s hands are bigger. God’s plans are bigger.

In the first reading we heard the call of Abraham. Accepting the call of God meant a heroic sacrifice for Abraham: the Bible shows clearly that at the time God called Abraham, Abraham was a rich man, the head of a whole clan, with many families under him, with thousands of sheep and cattle. More over, he was an elderly man too. The Lord said to Abram: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation.” And we heard in the reading today, “Abram went as the Lord directed him.” Through out his journey Abram experienced set backs and trials, but he traveled on, rooted in the conviction that one day his journey will lead to the fulfillment of God’s promises. He knew God’s plan is bigger than his. It was his heroic trust and obedience that earned Abraham the title of “Father of all believers” (Rom 4:11)

Transfiguration was to tell Peter and his companions that salvation through suffering and death on the cross is bigger than occupying the earthly king’s chair in Palestine and throw the Roman Empire. At Caesarea Philippi Jesus told the disciples that he was going to be rejected by the leaders of his own people, arrested, tried, condemned, tortured and eventually executed. This was too much for Peter and he objected strongly. In turn, he was severely scolded for getting in the way of God’s way of doing things. Even more, Jesus had said that, if anyone wanted to be his follower, then they would have to be prepared to walk the same road of rejection, oppression and even death. All of this must have seemed like a large bucket of cold water landing on the heads of the disciples. What Jesus had said was totally against all they had ever heard about the expected Messiah. It is in this perhaps depressed mood that today’s experience takes place.

To give a boost to their morale, to help them see that the way of Jesus would lead to victory and triumph, Jesus takes Peter, James and John to a high mountain. As the disciples watched, Jesus was suddenly transformed. “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzlingly white.” Then, suddenly, Moses and Elijah are seen talking with Jesus. They represent the two great traditions of the Old Testament: Moses personified the Law of God’s people and Elijah the traditions of the great prophets. Their presence and their talking with Jesus indicate their total endorsement of all that Jesus is doing and also of all that he will experience in the days to come. Therefore, the disciples need have no misgivings about anything they have heard from Jesus about his coming destiny. All that they have to do is to listen to him. The voice from the cloud said: “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well please; listen to him.”

Do you realize: it’s possible to go to church all of your life… and still not listen to Jesus? They’ll be involved in various committees and activities in the congregation. They’ll teach Sunday School… or be an Elder. They go through the routine of going to church and they say all the right things… at church, but the rest of the week they’ll say hateful things about each other or about others. They love their church but – never seem to be listening to Jesus. Take time to listen to him. He has bigger plan than yours.

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