Saturday, March 07, 2009

It is Good that We are Here

March 8, 2009

The Second Sunday of Lent

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am, Lord!" 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." Genesis 22:1-2

“…a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Mark 9:7


Father, help us to use all of our senses to carry out your mission in the world. Use our eyes to help us see you in our neighbors and our enemies. Use our ears to help us hear your cry. Use our hands to touch those whom no one else wants to touch. Use our mouths to help us taste and see your goodness so we can walk in your ways. Send your Spirit so we can experience moments with Jesus alone with us. Amen.


The transfiguration is an event out of time. It would seem it should be a resurrection event. It could be a preparation for the scandal of the passion for the apostles. We all have our heavenly moments when we look better than we have looked for a long time. There is something that contact with God does for us that is better than a face lift. It takes years off our lives because we are touching the divine and something of heaven is with us at that moment. “If God is for us, who or what can be against us?” The joy of the Lord is seen in our happiness by our two front teeth. Joy is the infallible sign of the present of God in our lives especially when there is no proceeding cause for what we are celebrating. Joy opens the door of our hearts where Christ is a prisoner until we are reaching out in love. And Christ who is in heaven is interceding for us while we become on earth his hands and his feet as we reach out and go the extra steps for the sake of the needs of our brothers and sisters.

The story of Abraham and Isaac captures our attention as the prefiguring of the cross of Christ. The connection to the passion of Christ is all too real. Christ transforms the meaning of suffering in how the tree of his passion becomes the tree of glory. In St. John’s gospel Christ enters into his kingship even as he climbs the hill of his suffering. Our journey into Lent opens the door to a closer union with Christ as the fasting, good works and almsgiving becomes part of our celebration of Lent. The abundant blessings on what Abraham did become the template of the blessing we receive even as we give of ourselves for the sake of each other. How we share our lives and offer up what we are doing for the good of each other brings inestimable blessings on us in our own transfiguration. The counterintuitive of Christianity is in the paradox that we can only keep what we give away and we can only save our lives by the losing of them for each other. We are created in the image and likeness of Christ and our spirituality is the putting on of Christ in all we say and do. The Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the life becomes our real selves the closer we come to him. The light of the Transfiguration shines on us in how we walk in his footsteps and draw closer to him.


The pleasure we have in doing the right thing becomes the voice of the Father in our hearts telling us that we are beloved children. When we combine doing good for the hungry, the naked, the sick the prisoners and the homeless we find ourselves like the Christ of the Transfiguration. The Father helps us to see ourselves as beloved children. We discover how much better our lives are because in fasting we are giving our bodies a chance to clean themselves out. We find our lives becoming simpler as we give away not just the extras of our lives but even some things we really need. The challenge of suffering in our lives needs the memory of the consolations possible to us when we try to love even as Christ has loved us. The taking up of the crosses of our lives allows us to be the Disciples of Christ as we make our sufferings redemptive in offering them for each other. Even as the promised Christ had first to suffer and so come to the glory of his resurrection, our Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving bring us home to the glory of his resurrection. Our Lenten observances make us into echoes of Christ in the good we do for our world by trying to be more like Christ in what we do.

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