Readings: Gen 12:1-4; 2 Tim 1:8-10; Matt 17:1-9
Call of Abraham, journey of faith, undeserved blessings, new beginning, choosing Christ,the ultimate blessing, hardships for the sake of the Gospel: these phrases help us to focus more deeply on the readings of this Sunday. The first reading from Genesis leads us into the most significant event for God’s people in the Old Testament, namely the call of Abraham. To understand the call of Abraham we need to know the context out of which he was called. That call reveals God’s plan for the chosen people. Abraham is called to a journey of conversion; into a land the Lord would show him; from a land he knew best into the unknown. The city of Ur (in present day Iraq) was a large city with spacious streets and large markets. It was a prosperous city with dazzling technology of the day. For the majority of the people in Ur the only thing that seemed to matter most was prosperity. The people’s ancient religion centered on a life-force or fertility gods. Their rites involved orgies complete with temple prostitutes – male and female. They also had human sacrifices including infants. Their gods demanded more and more blood of children. That was evidently a culture of death. It was those terrible gods Abraham was told to leave. The gods of our culture today are remarkably similar to those Abraham was asked to leave and go to a land the Lord would show him. Through the media we are daily sucked into a culture of consumerism, a culture of violence and of death. Like Abraham we are challenged to take a journey of conversion to leave our comfort zone, to let go so that the Lord may lead us into a journey of conversion. We are challenged to trust Abraham, who left everything behind.
In the Gospel, Jesus takes his closes disciples apart on the mountain where his glory is revealed. As in the call of Abraham in the first reading, Jesus calls each of us to a journey of conversion, to leave behind the pagan gods of our culture and consumerism. The way to avoid being sucked into a terrible culture of death is to go to the mountain with Jesus. The mountain in scripture always signifies God’s presence. The Gospel of today gives us the experience of such a presence in the Transfiguration. Jesus is transfigured before the three disciples and they see the mystery of his glory. The Sunday experience in a certain sense takes us to Mount Tabor, the Mountain of the Transfiguration. There we are lifted up high and see the glory of the Lord in his Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic celebration. Here we are purified, sanctified and experience in a profound the glory of God shown in Jesus Christ. We do not want to leave. It is so beautiful. We want to stay. As we continue our journey of faith this Lenten Season, you are one of the privileged disciples to be invited to the mountain. You are transformed. You experience the glory of Christ. You are deeply touched. You cannot be the same again. Three points to take away: 1) As disciples and stewards of Jesus Christ, we will have many uplifting moments. Many times we will encounter the Lord in profound ways. Take advantage of those moments for the Lord is working of you then. 2) We will have the temptation to want to stay there in the warmth of the glory. That is a transitional moment and we may be even confused like Peter wanting to build three tents and settle down there. As stewards, we are disciples on pilgrimage with the Lord, who has a vision, a purpose and a mission. 3) At the end of today’s Mass you are sent to go back energized to tell what we have experienced: seen with our eyes and heard with our ears to the world. It is our moment to evangelize those we meet. Share your joy of this Sunday celebration.
©2020 John S. Mbinda