March 8, 2020
by Mike Cherney
Creighton University's Physics Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 25

Genesis 12-1-4A
Psalms 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
2 Timothy 1:8B-10
Matthew 17:1-9

Praying Lent

In today’s first reading, Abram is called to continue his family’s journey toward the promised land. The second reading is a call from Paul to Timothy to take over his work with all that this entails. The Gospel is the story of the transfiguration. In each case I see individuals to whom the torch is being passed.

The reading from Genesis is God’s call for Abram to accept the role of leader of his family and take them forward on a journey that had stalled as his father aged. He is asked to leave a reasonably comfortable life and move in the direction prescribed by God.

In the Epistle, Paul challenges Timothy to accept his calling as a leader. Paul is aging and in prison. Some of Paul’s followers have begun to wonder if he is really on the right track; why would God put prison in that path? Timothy is asked to take up Paul’s mantle and persevere in his mission.

If I imagine myself in the place of one of the apostles as he experiences the transfiguration, I can see myself in the same state of fear and confusion that Peter, James and John must have felt. I can picture myself wondering what had just occurred. I am left with a personal feeling that the transfiguration was much more of an event for the apostles than it was for Jesus. They see Jesus as taking their religious and cultural history one step further and with His final comment in today’s Gospel, Jesus’ role as the fulfillment of salvation history becomes known. These three disciples have been given a profound religious experience. They have been charged to share this experience when the time comes.

When I used to ask my grandchildren “Would you like to go with Grandpa?” they would generally respond with an unquestioning and enthusiastic “Yes”. Now I need to say where I am going and what we would be doing before a get response. We learn to start choosing our own path at a very early age.

In today’s readings I see a set of examples where God has called individuals to move forward along a path that they would not likely have chosen on their own. Recently I find myself encouraged to consider my directions in terms reflecting if this is a path that God has put aside for me or if this is a path that I have put aside for God. This is the basis for my prayer today.

Dear Lord,
Help me to see when my ways are not your ways.
Grant me perseverance when the way becomes challenging.
Aid me in not letting the fear of failure stand in the way of the potential for success.

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