Reflections

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT, FEBRUARY 28, 2021

CROSS AND GLORY
Greeting (cf. Second Reading)
“God did not spare his own Son
but gave him up to benefit us all.”
He preferred his Son to die
rather than to give up his love for people.
This Jesus is with us now
as the guarantee of God’s love.
May the Lord Jesus be always with you. R/ And with your spirit.
 
Introduction
Cross and Glory
It is a happy moment when we are in pain to hear a word of concern and encouragement. It is a happy experience when in our questions and problems there comes a ray of light that uplifts us and tells us that Jesus is with us on our weary way. It is comforting for us during Lent that Jesus himself gives us a glimpse of his victory at Easter. All this is wonderful and we want it to last, but like Peter and with Jesus we have to go back to the realities of life. But Jesus is still with us always even when we are not aware of it.
 
Penitential Act
Our ways are not always the ways of the Lord.
Let us ask the Lord Jesus to forgive us
and to transform our lives.
(pause)
 
Lord Jesus, in our affliction and trials
we keep trusting in you:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
 
Jesus Christ, we are your servants.
You have set us free from the bonds of sin:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
 
Lord Jesus, you are God’s beloved Son.
We want to listen to you and to follow you:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
 
Have mercy on us, Lord,
and forgive us all our sins.
Show us the light of your face
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
 
Opening Prayer
Let us pray the Father
that the light of Christ may shine on us
(pause)
 
Loving Father,
for a fleeting moment
you glorified your Son on the mountain
to encourage him to carry out his mission
and to strengthen his disciples.
Let the presence of your Son in this Eucharist
and the words he speaks to us
transform us and give us light and strength
to take up our task in life
and to lighten the burden
of our brothers and sisters,
until you transforms us with him
in the lasting light of your glory.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.
 
First Reading: Not Refusing God Anything
As a man of deep faith, Abraham was ready to sacrifice his own Son to God. But the God of life gave him back his son as the sign of the covenant.
 
1 Reading: Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son. Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing—all this because you obeyed my command.”
 
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
R. (116:9) I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
 
I believed, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones. R.
 
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD. R.
 
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem. R.
 
Second Reading: God Sacrificed His Own Son for Us
God did not spare his own Son from the cross and death, but allowed this to be Jesus’ way to victory and the source of our victory.
 
2 Reading: Romans 8:31b-34
Brothers and sisters: 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? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn? Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised—who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
 
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Matthew 17:5
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
 
Gospel: Before the Cross, a Glimpse of Glory
Jesus and his closest apostles are given a glimpse of the glory that will be his at his resurrection. This vision will sustain them during the Lord’s passion.
 
Gospel: Mark 9:2-10
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
 
Intercessions
God has not spared his own Son. We may be sure that after such a gift he will not refuse us anything he can give. With faith we pray to our Father, and say:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
 
– For trust that God is near to us also in our deepest loneliness and in all trials, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
– For courage and constancy, that we may keep doing what is right and good even when it demands pain and effort, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
– For open hearts and hands to help all those who suffer, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
– For peace, which God alone can give and which drives away all fears, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
– For solidarity and cooperation in our Christian communities and with all people of good will, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
– For trusting faith that we are not lost in death but safe with Christ in the hands of God, let us pray:
R/ Listen to your people, Lord.
 
Lord, if you are on our side, who can be against us? Your Son pleads for us. Hear us and hear him, now and for ever. Amen.
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
we now bring bread and wine before you.
Transform them into Jesus, your Son,
and help us to see beyond appearances
him who is our strength and joy
and our way to one another.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.
 
Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with all trust
the prayer of Jesus our Lord,
who pleads for us to the Father. R/ Our Father…
 
Deliver Us
Deliver us, Lord, from all sin
and set us free from the fear of changing
and of becoming more like your Son.
Liberate us from our self-interest
and open our eyes to the needs of people.
Help us to work without fear
for a world where your children can live
and laugh and be happy
and prepare in hope for the full coming
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…
 
At the breaking of bread
People yearn for love and justice,
for understanding and sharing.
Jesus broke his life for us
that we might live.
Let us now break Jesus’ bread of life,
that we may learn from him
to share ourselves with one another.
 
Invitation to Communion (or the Communion Antiphon)
This is Jesus the Lord.
Receive him in faith
and let his Spirit guide you
to care for one another. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…
 
Prayer after Communion
Lord God, our Father,
with the apostles we have seen your Son
with the eyes of faith.
May he strengthen us, too,
to face the realities and hardships of life
and to commit ourselves more courageously
to brighten the lives of people
with hope and love
and to lighten their burdens.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
 
Blessing
There is nothing than can keep us
from accepting the pains of renewal,
of transfiguration, that is, transformation,
in ourselves, in the Church we love,
in the world around us,
for God is on our side
and Jesus stays with us.
May God bless you,
that you may become a blessing to all:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
 
Let us go with one another the Lord’s way of love and peace.
R/ Thanks be to God.
 
Commentary:
Sometimes on retreat I give lumps of potter’s clay to people and ask them to make various symbolic forms. Making things with clay is an unusual manner of making. Usually we make things either by addition or by subtraction. But, with clay you have the same amount of material from start to finish; there is no addition, no subtraction; instead it is transformation. It can be a small opening to transformation of the self. In The Way of Transformation, Karlfried von Duerkheim wrote: “It would be quite impossible for us to make any statement about the nature of Divine Being, were it not for identifiable encounters, experiences and revelations which in their power, significance and feeling, and in the sense of responsibility they bring, are so utterly different in quality from our usual experience of the world, that we cannot help but see them as manifestations of transcendence.” In other words, we need an occasional transfiguration. Our ordinary life, without addition or subtraction, needs to be suffused occasionally with what the Eastern Churches call “the light of Tabor.” We have tended to identify Christian doctrines with their formulation in fixed words, and then to describe everything else as ‘subjective’. We do so badly need the light of Tabor.

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