Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: Pope St Leo the Great (- 461)|
Leo was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.
Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Second Sunday of Lent|
For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the Saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe. (Phm 3:20-21)
Gn 15:5-12, 17-18
There are different stories of exactly how God’s pact with Abraham (or Abram) was made. There is no doubt that it was a promise of lasting protection for Abraham and his descendants. This version takes the form of an ancient sacral covenant, of a kind known from other ancient near Eastern sources. The offerings are cut in half, and the parties making the pact pass between the halves, as a symbol that they will observe the pact faithfully until the two halves come together again. Such covenants were frequent between equals, or between overlord and vassal, but no such covenant is known between a deity and a human being. It perhaps marks the inequality that only the awesome symbols of God here pass between the halves of the offering: Abraham cannot impose conditions on God! nor can Abraham do anything to earn or justify this promise: he can only trust in God, for he himself remains a nomad without a settled territory to call his own. Only his descendants will inherit the land and become as many as the stars of heaven. The awesome mystery of the scene is increased by the deep sleep (the same sleep as fell on Adam for the creation of Eve) and by Abram’s terror. What do you need to do to fulfil your part of the bargain with God?
Last Sunday’s second reading moved one step higher from the first reading, from the Israelite profession of faith in God to the Christian’s profession of faith in Christ as Risen Lord. So this Sunday Abram’s promised ownership of the land is gazumped to the Christian’s citizenship of heaven. In this world we are aliens rather than citizens, in that our final values are not those of this world, nor is our final aim. We cannot rest in contentment except in the expectation of the Risen Lord coming in triumph to assume lordship of all things. This, rather than food or any material goods, must be the basis of our whole system of values. To modern conventions Paul’s occasional encouragement to follow his rule of life or to imitate him seems boastful and complacent. He sees himself as the servant of Christ, suffering for Christ, just as Jesus suffered as the Servant of the Lord. Paul’s sufferings are the badge of apostleship. In other passages, however, he shows that he is as aware as any of us of his own failings and of his inability to live up to his ideals. If you are to live in the world, is it unavoidable to compromise your Christian standards?
Each Lent the Gospel reading of the Second Sunday is the Transfiguration, preparing the chosen three disciples and ourselves for the coming Passion. It is a scene of Christ’s heavenly glory, his clothes bright as lightning, and his glory extending even to Moses and Elijah. These two personalities are here privileged to speak to Jesus because they each had a vision of God on the holy mountain, Sinai or Horeb respectively (in the Old Testament these are two names for the same mountain). The Voice from heaven at the baptism had been addressed to Jesus himself (in Mark and Luke); now the Voice is a public declaration of Jesus’s Sonship, and authorises him to all as the Chosen Teacher. Luke centres the scene especially clearly on the Passion by stressing that they were speaking of the ‘Exodus’ he was to accomplish at Jerusalem – again the Lucan stress on Jerusalem. The fact that the disciples are praying, and are the same three disciples as are present at the Agony in the Garden, is a strong link to the Passion of Jesus. It is also part of Luke’s stress on prayer, for Luke mentions Jesus’s prayer and the importance of prayer on several occasions and in several parables (the unjust Judge, the Friend at Midnight, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector).
1. What do you find the best form of prayer? Can you improve it during Lent?
2. Jesus was transfigured on the Holy Mountain. What makes a mountain holy?
Family day! Do something which will bring joy to the oldest member of your family.
This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, published by the Catholic Truth Society and used by permission. “40 Days and 40 Ways” has meditations for each day in Lent. To find out more about the booklet, or to buy it, please visit the CTS web site.
The Universalis Readings at Mass page shows the readings for today’s Mass.
|Liturgical colour: violet|
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Thessalonians 4:1,7 ©|
My brethren, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 30:15,18 ©|
For thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel: ‘Your salvation lies in conversion and tranquillity, your strength will come from complete trust.’ The Lord is waiting to be gracious to you, to rise and take pity on you, for the Lord is a just God. Happy are all who hope in him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Deuteronomy 4:29-31 ©|
You will seek the Lord your God, and if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul, you shall find him. In your distress, all that I have said will overtake you, but at the end of days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God and will not desert or destroy you or forget the covenant he made on oath with your fathers.