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Dear Friends,
Today, we continue on our Lenten journey. Every 1st Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading always relates the Temptation in the Desert. Whether from Matthew, Mark or Luke, the Gospels on that 1st Sunday call us to enter into the Lenten season facing the devil and all the temptations he throws at us, so that we may use this time as our own desert fast (like Jesus), to reject the devil, and all his works (the baptismal promise we will renew on Easter Sunday) and live more faithfully the Christian calling that is ours.

In a similar fashion, the 2nd Sunday of Lent always presents to us the account of the Transfiguration, Jesus’ appearing in glory, accompanied by Moses and Elijah, before the three chosen and privileged disciples, Peter, James and John. (After today, the readings for the third, fourth and fifth Sunday of Lent will diverge from one common theme). While some will maintain that this account of the Transfiguration (which appears in all three Synoptic Gospels) is actually a post-resurrection experience, the author of 2nd Peter clearly presents it as happening during Jesus’ lifetime. It comes only six days after Jesus had told them that He would suffer and be put to death and after Jesus’ rebuke of Peter for wanting it to be otherwise. And so it comes as an invitation to believe in Him even though the expectations which the disciples have of Him would not be fulfilled as they had hoped. But it also comes with an invitation directly from the Father – or maybe a warning – LISTEN TO HIM. At His baptism, Jesus alone hears the words that the Father is well pleased in Him; at the Transfiguration, the disciples hear the words spoken directly to them, not only is the Father well pleased in Jesus, they need to listen to what He is telling them.

Several elements in the account give us some clues as to why it always appears as the focus of reflection on this 2nd Sunday of Lent. As stated, it follows the first prediction of the Passion, after which Peter “rebuked” Him, for which Peter received his own rebuke. The transfiguration of Jesus, itself, is both the “breaking through” of Who Jesus really is, the Son of God, (not the messiah as understood by Peter), and the foreshadowing of what Jesus will be at His Resurrection. In light of this transfiguration, Jesus is overshadowed by a cloud, the classic Old Testament sign of the Presence of God, and out of the cloud comes the Voice, “listen to Him,’ something Peter was unwilling to do only a few days prior.

There is considerable significance in the placement of this Gospel on the 2nd Sunday of Lent. We could ask ourselves, after only one week, how are things going? Have we faced the “adversary,” as Jesus did last week? Did we win or lose? Have we faced our sins, head-on and said no, or have we fallen already? (And this is not about our Lenten resolutions – they are only tools for the real contest, facing our sins.) Whatever the state of our Lenten resolve, or of our Lenten struggle, this Gospel is offered to us as an encouragement, and a warning. It is an encouragement because it reminds us of the ultimate goal of our journey through Lent, and our journey through life – it is to reach the Kingdom, to be found in the company of Jesus as this earthly journey ends so that He may lead us into Paradise. We can never forget that as much as we are challenged to build the Kingdom here on earth, it is that Eternal Kingdom on which we must keep our focus, and keeping our focus on it should be the spur that harnesses our spiritual energy to be more faithful on our journey.

And the warning. The Voice makes it clear. The Father is pleased in the Son, in His readiness to walk the way of the Passion and in His willingness to offer Himself for us, and the Father’s willingness to accept that offering. And so the Father says, “Listen to Him.” To listen to Him is to take up the struggle against Evil, both in our personal lives and the life of the world. No true believer can fall before this challenge. The stakes are too high. Lent is the time to “listen to Him.” Better start now.

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

PS. Please don’t forget the many opportunities to grow in this Lenten season. Contributing to a Confirmation Service Project, the Parish Lenten Service Project, Meals in Motion, on Saturday, 3/25 (more info in the bulletin), the parish Lenten Mission, next Saturday, 3/18. All are opportunities to deepen our experience of Lent.

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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