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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 2nd (B) of Lent

1st Reading (Gen 22:1-2.9-13.15-18): God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, «Abraham!». «Here I am!», 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».

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the Lord's messenger called to him from heaven, «Abraham, Abraham!». «Here I am!», he answered. «Do not lay your hand on the boy», said the messenger. «Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son». As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the Lord's messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: «I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing, all this because you obeyed my command».
Responsorial Psalm: 115
R/. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I said, «I am greatly afflicted». Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.

O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.

My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all his people; in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, o Jerusalem.
2nd Reading (Rom 8:31b-34): Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn? Christ Jesus it is who died —or, rather, was raised— who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mk Cf. 9:7): From the shining cloud the Father's voice is heard: This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
Gospel text (Mk 9,2-10): Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high moun­tain. There his appearance was changed before their eyes. Even his clothes shone, becoming as white as no bleach of this world could make them. Elijah and Moses appeared to them; the two were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter spoke and said to Jesus, «Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah». For he did not know what to say; they were overcome with awe. But a cloud formed, covering them in a sha­dow, and from the cloud came this word, «This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him». And suddenly, as they looked around, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus with them.

As they came down the mountain, He ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this to themselves, although they discussed with one another what ‘to rise from the dead’ could mean.

«Jesus went up the mountain to pray»

Fr, Jaume GONZÁLEZ i Padrós (Barcelona, Spain)

Today we are contemplating the act «whereby the three apostles Peter, James and John appear enraptured over the beauty of our Redeemer» (Saint John Paul II): «And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them» (Mk 9:2-3).

As for us, a message has been revealed: «But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who had abolished death, and had brought life and immortality to light through the gospel» (2Tim 1:10), St. Paul assures Timothy, his disciple. It is what, then, the three favorite Apostles are looking at, totally amazed, in this episode announcing the second Sunday of Lent: The Transfiguration.

It is good that in our Lenten exercise we receive that brilliant sun and shining light in Jesus' face and clothes. It is a marvelous icon of redeemed mankind, which no longer appears in the ugliness of sin, but in all the beauty divinity turns our flesh into. Peter's well-being is the expression of what we feel when we let the divine grace fill us.

The Holy Spirit also transfigures the Apostles' senses, and thanks to this they can witness the divine glory of the Man Jesus. Transfigured eyes to see what shines most; transfigured ears to hear the truest and most sublime voice: that of the Father who rejoices in his Son. Altogether, too impressive for us, rather used to grayish mediocrity. Only if we let Our Lord touch us with his Grace, our senses will be able to see and hear that which is most beautiful and most joyful, in God, and in those made holy by him, who raised from the dead.

«Christian spirituality -saint John Paul II wrote- has as a characteristic the disciple's duty to gradually and fully shape himself with his Master», in such a way that -through an assiduousness we could call "friendly"- we get to the point of «breathing his senses». Let us put in the Virgin Mary's hands the milestone of our true "trans-figuration" in her Son Jesus Christ.