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Scripture Reflections - March 17
Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 9:28b-36

Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

We’ve had twelve days to let the meaning of those ashes sink into our consciousness. By this time, I hope we’re convinced that if we want to change the world around us, we have to change ourselves first. Lent is that precious time of the year when God has our attention! It’s a time for us to talk more to God about our needs, and for God to talk to us about his plans for us.

This Sunday’s readings are about two of the great encounters of God and humans. The first happened between God and Abraham, hundreds of years before He appointed Moses to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt. God hadn’t yet changed Abram’s name when He appeared to this great man of faith on his desert journey, and promised to make him great, with many descendants, and further promised him a vast tract of fertile land Abram could call his own. In this reading, we realize why we should feel so secure in trusting God to watch over own journeys of faith. This ancient covenant of God with Abraham continues through all that followed, including the New Covenant of Jesus with us in his body and blood.

As long as we have faith! St. Paul tells the Philippians in the second reading that faith is more important than all the early Jewish practices and Jewish laws! It seems to me that therefore we should never fear change in our own church laws and practices, as long as our faith and doctrine stays rock-firm.

The Gospel is about Jesus’ dazzling transfiguration in the sight of Peter, James and John, in which Jesus talks with Moses, the lawgiver, and Isaiah, the great prophet. Luke tells us that they discuss Jesus’ coming “exodus” to Jerusalem, as well has his passion, death, and resurrection. Then, God the Father thunders his advice to the three apostles (as well as to us!): “This is my Chosen Son. Listen to Him!”

This year, we also celebrate the life and example of St. Patrick. Here is a man who based the success of his ministry on deep penances and hours of prayer.

He is a great saint for us to imitate during Lent, at least with a little less rigor. St. Patrick, pray for us this Lent.

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