Second Sunday in Lent ReflectionSunday 25th February 2018
In the second of our Sunday Lenten Reflections we hear from Fr Michael Deas on today’s Gospel Reading:
Today’s first reading and Gospel both describe a dramatic experience which proves to be a crucial turning point in the life of famous characters in salvation history. And both would make great scenes in a film or a novel.
We hear from the book of Genesis how Abraham is put to the test by God who asks him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. It is a sublime piece of literature, full of drama and deep, theological meaning. If we allow ourselves to be drawn in, we get to the tense line, ‘Then he stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.’ This is like a cliff-hanger, and it is well worth pausing, almost in slow-motion, as we hold our breath to see what will happen next. Will he or won’t he go through with it? Thankfully, the angel of the Lord comes to the rescue, and stops Abraham from killing his son. God then promises Abraham that there will be countless faithful people like him throughout the centuries. In the end, God does not require a human person to sacrifice his son, because he is going to give his own Son to the world.
Similarly, try to imagine in the Gospel how this scene would be portrayed in a film. Jesus, with his dazzlingly white clothes, the mysterious appearance of Moses and Elijah representing all the law and the prophets, and the booming voice coming from the cloud. It would be very difficult to do it any justice on screen, and this helps us understand how confused Peter, James and John must have felt. It also helps to explain why Jesus warns them not to tell anyone about this experience just yet. They need time to absorb what they have seen, and won’t properly come to grips with it until they reflect on it in the light of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The characters in these episodes, Abraham, Peter, James and John, would have felt enriched by these experiences of the love of God, and would then have reflected upon and treasured them throughout their lives. When have we experienced God working in our lives? Do we reflect upon and treasure these experiences? Do we open our hearts to be transformed by them?