Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Second Sunday of Lent



Why in the world was I thinking Second Sunday of Advent as I typed the title of the blog is beyond me, perhaps I want to go back in time. Here's the link to the readings. 

So the first reading is where Abraham is told to sacrifice his son Isaac.  We just studied in my Biblical Call Narratives class and some interesting points were made.  When we think of this story we often pictures Isaac as a teenager, but it is possible that he was an adult, say in his thirties when this happened.  I guess part of our imagining Isaac as a teen comes from the use of the word boy. Another point that was made is that this may not have been a command of God to sacrifice Isaac but rather question put to Abraham. Again our take on it could come from the words that are used in the translation.

We so often see what we deem an angry God in the Old Testament.  Really who commands someone to give up their son, oh wait, God, Himself does that out of love for us.  We take more notice over the idea of Abraham almost killing Isaac that we completely forget that Abraham is actually talking with God and God is responding back.  How we all long for that type of relationship with God, where we actually hear what He has to say and Abraham has it, yet we never talk about it.

I'm always amused with how easily the characters in the Old Testament responded with, "here I am." As if God didn't know where they were, of course He knew; He's just waiting for us to acknowledge Him.  We skip over Isaac questioning his father. Isaac wasn't stupid, he realized there was no animal for the sacrifice. Abraham does a nice bit of not answering the question with the whole God will provide answer.  We also leave out the fact that Abraham tied Isaac up to be sacrificed and we go right to the "don't do it" answer from God.  Put yourself in Isaac's shoes, well sandals, I'd be saying, what the hell dad, what's going on, which he did and rightfully so.  God deals with what we give Him, so maybe He did ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac or maybe God just posed a question either way, we find out that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son.   Abraham is promised descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand in the desert.  That's a lot of kids.  There's a theory out there about this as well. We often assume that God and Abraham were talking at night so you'd see a ton of starts, but what if they were really talking during the day and the only star you could see was the sun. Anyway, what matters is that God and Abraham entered into a covenant of sorts and we are Abraham's descendants, so yes God kept His promise, like He always does.

I have a feeling this will not be the psalm that I hear at Mass, as I will be at our 6pm Mass and they tend to not stick with the given psalm of the say, but use one of the alternative ones, but we shall see.

*update* it wasn't the Psalm used at Mass, we sung "If today your hear God's voice; harden not your hearts."

The refrain is "I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living."   What strikes me is the idea of walking before God.  This harkens back to the idea of being able to talk to God, yes, prayer is our way way of talking to God, but the idea of walking with God makes it that much more personal.  So often we act like like having a personal relationship with God is unattainable.  In the verses of the Psalm we see that even though we are afflicted, that we are precious in God's eyes, that we are His servants, not the sweep the floor and looked down upon type, but the I love what I do type,  and we say that we will show God to others.  Well, that's my take on the Psalm, doesn't have to be everyone's and I am by far not a Biblical scholar despite studying it in college.  The Psalms rarely are preached on and it can be difficult to see what each verse it, but I think this Psalm is reminding that we are God's children and that we should do what He is telling us to do.

The Second reading, is actually one of my favorite readings.  I'm always reminded of Fr. Bill when I hear and use the line, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"  It happens to be Fr. Bill's favorite verse, or it was when I was in college, we all know things can change.  This is a line that I should listen to and pay attention to more often. So many times we fall into temptation forget that God is there for us no matter what, and that if what we are doing is what He wants, then no one can be against us.  St. Paul once again reminds us that God the Father did not spare His own son, but rather handed him over.  This ties in nicely with the first reading with the whole giving up your only child.

The Gospel is the Transfiguration, which we are all familiar with.  We all know the story Jesus takes Peter, James and John up to a mountain and Jesus appears with Moses, Elijah and He and His clothes become a dazzling white.  Peter excitedly, or at least I think he was excited, asks Jesus if he can set up some tents.  We're told that they were terrified as they should have been, imagine how you would be if you actually saw Jesus appear in His full glory and then a voice from the Heavens says, "This is my beloved son. Listen to him."  I'd be terrified too.  I'm always amused that Jesus tells them to tell n one about what happens.  I know it says that they are to wait until after Jesus dies and rises from the dead, but I still only hear the don't tell anyone about this comment.  I guess Jesus was preparing these three for what they would eventually do.  I read and I think it was Fr. Barron who mentioned it in his lenten reflection, that this is in a way a physical version of the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New Testament.

My Sunday was spent watching the freshman in our confirmation program be on retreat, which was great to watch as they actually got something out of it, but I was done by the time we got to Mass so I don't remember much of the homily except that Fr. Ray preached mainly on the first reading and slightly on the Gospel.