“The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
by Sister Joseph Fennimore, OSB
We are watching the transformation of nature around us as we move from winter to spring. There are buds on the trees and bushes, and all kinds of plant shoots are showing above the ground. The early flowers are in bloom. This time of transformation in nature brings change, giving us new life and energy.
The readings for the second Sunday of Lent are about transformation, spiritual change that will make us new and radiant people. In the Gospel, we have the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. The three apostles present saw him transformed into the radiant and glorified Son of God. Jesus Christ’s identity and mission were confirmed at this moment as the voice of God the Father was heard to say, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” This transfiguration of Jesus took place in the middle of the predictions of the passion and death he would have to go through. The achievement of his glory would not happen without sufferings and death.
The other two readings for this Sunday refer to a complete transformation in the life of Abram (Abraham) and in the life of a follower of Christ as described by St. Paul in the Letter to the Philippians. Abram was called to a complete change of life; to a new way of relating to God, to a new faith and trust in God, to a new country, to the growth and development of a new people. The covenant rituals described in the Genesis reading assure Abram of these promises. In the second reading St. Paul tells us what a glorified Jesus will do for us. He will transform us into his image and give us citizenship in heaven.
We are called to change and become other Christs. Like Christ, the glory of this transformation is brought about through the trials, sufferings and crosses we bear in this life. Our Lenten penances and good works are a part of this process. As we look to a suffering Jesus for the strength to handle these, we are also to look to the glorified Jesus for the reward of eternal glory.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“All this God will by the Holy Spirit graciously manifest in us now cleansed of vices and sins.” RB 7:70
“From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard: This is my beloved Son, hear him.” Cf. Matthew 17:5