February 28, 2021
by Mary Lee Brock
Creighton University's Graduate School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 26

Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
Romans 8:31b-34
Mark 9:2-10

The Second Week of Lent

The Invitation of Lent


All through my life today’s first reading from Genesis has confused me.  God put Abraham to the test.  That line would stop me cold.  I would wonder how the God I knew to be loving and gracious would want to test me.  Through my childhood and young adult years my image of God was that of a benevolent parent.  And just as I could not imagine my parents ever testing me to prove my love for them, I could not understand why would God test me.  Then when I became a mother I could not imagine a test that would require my being prepared to sacrifice one of my daughters.  That test seemed one I would certainly fail.  Yet at the same time I knew I had much to learn from this reading.

So today, this second Sunday of Lent, I am facing my confusion so I can hear what God is saying to me.  As I spend time with the readings, I remember that The Principle and Foundation of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises helps us enter deeper into a relationship with God.  Jacqueline Syrup Bergan and Sister Marie Schwanoffer this interpretation of the Principle and Foundation:

Lord my God, when Your love spilled over into creation You thought of me. 
I am from love, of love, for love.
Let my heart, O God always recognize, cherish and enjoy
Your goodness in all creation. 
Direct all that is me toward your praise. 
Teach me reverence for every person, for all things.
Energize me in your service.

Lord God may nothing every distract me for Your love…
neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life. 
May I never seek nor choose to be other than You intend or wish.  Amen

Suddenly the clouds of my confusion clear as I am invited to explore what is distracting me from God’s love.  This is not a test of my willingness to sacrifice my daughters but a call for me to focus on what brings me closer to God and how I can turn away from what leads me away from God.

As Spring approaches, it is easy for me to think about ways to celebrate the goodness of God’s creation.  My walks on the local trail help me feel God’s love through the beauty of nature.  It is more challenging to explore the patterns of disordered attachments that lead me away from God.  I pray for the grace to help me become aware of what I am clinging to in my life that is getting in the way of my relationship with God.  This awareness can lead me to a stance of indifference, of freedom.

I pray to God to help me be willing to sacrifice my distractions.  Help me to live a good life but not to cling to the security of that life at all cost.  Help me to be generous with my love and attention to others and not to cling to fulfilling my own needs first.  Help me to bring joy to others but not cling to a need to be the center of other’s attention. 

As we hear today in the letter to the Romans:  If God is for us, who can be against?

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