Gathering the Sheep

"we are a people of faith and hope."

FEBRUARY 25, 2018

 

The readings for this second Sunday of Lent offer us some points to reflect on. Let us take a closer look at each of them: 

On the First Reading: the faith of Abraham was tested by God and he passed the test with flying colors. Abraham was child-less for a long time until God gifted him and his wife Sarah with a son whom they named Isaac. Such was their happiness because God has answered their prayers. Then one day, God asked Abraham to sac-rifice his son Isaac. With a heavy heart and in great turmoil, Abraham followed God’s will. He was about to kill his son when an angel of God stopped him from harming Isaac. God’s messenger told him that God was only testing him and now he has proven his devotion to God. 

Thus, God made a covenant with Abraham. “He will be blessed abundantly, his de-scendants will be countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore...all this because Abraham obeyed God’s command.” 

We ask ourselves: am I that faithful to God always? In times of great trials and diffi-culties, do I remain devoted to God and steadfast in my faith? Am I willing to let go of my valued possessions if God wills it so? During this Lent, what is it that I want to forego; what is it I want to abstain from? 

On the Second Reading: “If God is with us, who can be against us? God did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for all of us, will He not give us everything else?” Such comforting and reassuring words. Words that should give us courage; words that should give us hope; words that should make us look beyond the difficul-ties and frustrations of the present life and see the joy, happiness and victory that tomorrow brings. 

Often times, facing great difficulties and huge problems that seem unsurmountable, we lose hope, we despair, we begin to think that God is not answering our prayers, or worse, we begin to think that God is indifferent to our needs and sufferings and has totally abandoned us. That is not true. God made a covenant with us and He will remain faithful to that covenant forever. Have faith. Trust in God always. 

On the Gospel: whatever doubts Peter, James and John had as regards Jesus’ divini-ty, the Transfiguration erased all these from their minds. “And He was transfigured before them, and His clothes became dazzling white.” The bright face and the daz-zling white clothes of Jesus were the manifestations of His divinity. His being God was seen by the disciple beyond His visible humanity. Indeed, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. This truth assured the disciples that, although Jesus will suffer and die, He will never be defeated. He will emerge victorious. Reassured and faith strength-ened, the disciples can now face courageously any form of hardship, confident that God is on their side and nothing, and no one can destroy them. 

A Christian is a person of hope. Hope is looking forward to the fulfillment of the promise made by someone trustworthy. God made the promise. We trust in Him. 

Yesterday, Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes blessed and dedicated our new altar. My deep and eternal gratitude to him and to all the donors of our new altar, ambo, presi-dential chair, etc. People like you make me ever hopeful and faithful. God bless you always. 

Fr. Dan Bien


 

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
— Cf. Mt 17:5