Second Sunday of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
The Lenten season is usually not described as a hopeful time of year, yet today’s readings give us hope. Even as we commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion, we, as Christians, are blessed and comforted by the knowledge of His resurrection. It is difficult to imagine how the lives of Mary and the apostles were affected by Jesus’ death, since they did not have the comfort of knowing what would happen three days later. We do know that they hid in fear. Surely, they questioned God and wondered if everything they had worked for was suddenly meaningless. It would have been easy for them to give up and return to their old ways of life. However, the apostles trusted in Jesus, and their obedience to God gave them the courage to continue Christ’s work and build the Church.
In the first reading, we see that Abraham faced a similar situation. When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham’s world was instantly turned upside down. It appeared as though he was about to lose everything, all because of his relationship to God. He was probably confused about what God wanted of him and became, understandably, angry with God, wondering why God demanded so much from him. Abraham could have easily turned his back on God. However, even in his confusion, questioning, and anger, Abraham obeyed, because he knew that God had his best interests in mind. In the end, because of Abraham’s unwavering obedience, God blessed him abundantly.
The Gospel relates how Peter, in the ecstasy of the Transfiguration, suggests that the apostles remain indefinitely on the mountain with Jesus, where life’s difficulties were non-existent. That definitely would have been easier than undergoing the events of the Crucifixion. However, God’s voice reminded Peter that Jesus’ mission was not to sit idly in comfort, but to go into the world and actively serve God in everything, including when life was difficult. Necessarily, since the world is an imperfect place, trials and difficulties will disrupt our lives, and we will find ourselves in similar predicaments. As college students, we are constantly trying to make sense of our lives and plan for the future. When things don’t go as we plan or become difficult, it is easy to turn let our relationship with God fall by the wayside. Sometimes, like Abraham, we are tempted to believe that our relationship to God is the very thing causing the problems in our life. However, when Abraham was faced with the same temptation, he consciously chose to serve God no matter how difficult or confusing life became, and we must do the same.
Luckily, thanks to the courageous efforts of the apostles who did not abandon Christ’s mission, we have the Church to help us and guide us through these difficult times. And what’s more, God promises to come to our assistance if we ask for it. The second reading makes this clear, stating, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” Although it may not be immediately evident in times of trial, if we persevere in service to God during the difficult times of our lives, He promises to bless us abundantly for our efforts and obedience, just as He blessed Mary, Abraham, and the apostles. This promise gives us hope.