Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

February 17, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Matthew 17:1-9

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Hopefully, most of us have settled into the discipline of Lent.

As we get out of bed each morning, we're getting more accustomed to looking ahead to some special practice we've decided on for the day, whether it's meeting with a Lenten discussion group, or joining with a friend to visit a nursing home, or just spending a little more time listening to the Lord in prayer.

Lent provides endless opportunities for personal growth and bonding with the Body of Christ. Hopefully, we're within reach of a daily Mass that fits our schedule. More frequent Eucharist is really the crown of Lenten practice—the sacred liturgy focuses our minds on the Word, nourishes our whole person with the grace of Holy Communion, and gives joy and purpose to the whole day. Some parishes offer Scripture reading and a Communion service on certain days.

The first readings last week and this week are about our spiritual ancestors. Why is it so important for us to keep them in front of our eyes? Like all stories of ancestors, they teach us to live by avoiding their mistakes and imitating their virtues. Adam made a big mistake—disobedience. In contrast, Abram (or Abraham) shows us a huge virtue—faith. Disobedience lost us a garden of delights, while obedient faith won us a wonderful holy ground called the Promised Land. Lent, I think, is about fleeing sin, and journeying to holy places—places of prayer, challenge, and growth.

The Gospel is about the "high places" in our journey, pointing to light and resurrection. Arriving at new levels in life can be frightening. Notice how afraid Peter, James, and John are when they see Jesus transfigured in light. Jesus is at ease when talking with Moses and Elijah, both of whom had experienced light in their encounters with God on earth. The great Lawgiver and the great Prophet talk to Jesus who is the Law, to Jesus who fulfills all prophecy. We wonder what they talked about. Perhaps Jesus is telling them that soon, He will bring them to everlasting encounter with light, as soon as He has risen from death.

That's the purpose of this experience, to let Peter, James and John know that the days of darkness ahead will only lead to light. The Father, thundering from heaven, validates the truth of Jesus. He will come back and bring us with Him one day! We just have to be patient. If we wish to live in everlasting light, we must be light for the world on earth. That will be painful, like Jesus' own Passion and Death, but it won't last long.

If we're really serious about Lent, we'll take the Transfiguration experience as Jesus intended. As He taught a lesson in patience and hope to Peter, James, and John, so He teaches us to listen and wait, to let the message of Jesus soak into our lives so that we can live it better.

Lent is really exciting! No wonder that it's the favorite time of year for so many people!

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29(at)yahoo(dot)com

Second Sunday of Lent

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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