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Contents: Volume 2 - 2nd Sunday of Lent
Year A
March 5, 2023








1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Dennis Keller

3. --

4. --(Your reflection can be here!)






Lent 2 A 2023

In our Gospel selection today, the three apostles and we are told to "listen" to Jesus by the "voice from the cloud" that called Jesus "my beloved Son". No wonder the apostles and we are afraid. THIS IS A COMMAND PERFORMANCE, not really just an invitation, given rather directly by God!

The Scriptures tell us clearly what Jesus said and did and what we are to do to follow him. Our second reading also says: "Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God." We are also told that it is not our works, but rather the grace of God that will help us lead a holy life and fulfill this command to bear this hardship.

Jesus's task of redemption was possible because of his complete trust in the Father. Our task to share this Good News is likewise possible. It is possible only, however, if we truly realize that it is not what we do, but rather it is the grace of God that initiates any goodness and brings it to completion through us in God's time and in God's way.

For me, it is usually the when and the how that trips me up! I can rely on God's graces, but I most often want it sooner than is in God's plan... and with what I had in mind in the first place. Jesus told the apostles to wait to tell anyone about the Transfiguration... talk about having to wait and "recalculate"!

Lent for me this year is about more prayer, more slowing down, more patience, more trust... and less of everything else that might get me off track. I surely have to listen to Jesus more. Let us pray that each of us will readily receive the abundant graces that are ours for the taking.


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Second Sunday of Lent March 5, 2023

Genesis 12:1-4; Responsorial Psalm 33; 2nd Timothy 1:8-10;
Gospel Acclamation Matthew 17:5; Matthew 17:1-9

The mysteries that challenge my intellect in reading our Scriptures is often overwhelming. I, along with many others, just don’t get the message. It’s some comfort to observe Peter’s reaction to the Transfiguration of Jesus. He obviously hadn’t comprehended Jesus’ preaching, healing, and accompaniment of all he met. Peter hasn’t processes those events. His reaction is more like, "Hey, this is really great! This is what Jesus is all about, this is why we are attracted to follow him. Let us stay here forever. It is so very cool!" Peter, and likely James and John, have ignored Jesus’ announcement of his impending death, the terrible death on Calvary preceded by the horrific experience of Gethsemane. They don’t get, fail to understand this magnificent transfiguration is for Jesus. Through the lived experiences of Moses and Elijah Jesus is confirmed that what’s about to happen is the Father’s will. Moses is there to encourage him as God encouraged him in those forty desert years. But Moses, like the majority of us, even after a face to face with God, fails to get his ego out of the way of God’s working. Moses has a tough time of it. Even God’s presence in the meeting tent couldn’t take away Moses’ frustration, suffering, and anger at the complaining and threats the tribes so released from Pharoah’s slavery. At Meribah, both Moses and Aaron let the complaining of the nation boil over. The complaining, murmuring, angry shouts, and threats from the thirsty people pushed Moses and Aaron over the edge of their faith. We need water, why did you take us away from the Nile to die of thirst in this terrible desert? Moses had it. He conferred with God who told him to bring water from the rock. Moses, really angry with the people for their screaming and shouting at him, yelled back at the assembled crowd: "Listen to me you rebels! Are WE to bring water for you out of the rock?" Ah! There’s the sin of Moses. He takes to himself and Aaron the power to bring water from the rock. In his frustration at being victimized by the crowd, he tried to set himself as he and Aaron bringing them water. "Are WE to bring water from this rock?" It was God and faith in God’s presence that provided water. Because of their usurping God’s power, Moses and Aaron were not allowed to enter the promised land. Just this one slip of the tongue, this one claim of divine power and all was changed. Aaron died and was buried in an unmarked grave in the mountains. Moses was allowed to see the promised land from the top of a mountain. He died and was buried in an undisclosed place in the mountains. Moses was the intermediary between God and the people. Moses brought and explained the Law of God to the people. That Law was not meant to be restrictive but an ethic of living that would lead to a fulfilling life. Yet in later years the Law was usurped into a set of mandates instead of the roadmap to peace and justice. That Law would not take away suffering, warfare, famine, or even failures in love. But living under the Law was necessary for peace in individual spirits, a full life, well lived, happiness, and a vibrant supportive community. In this Transfiguration of Jesus, Moses shows up with Jesus both as approval of his ministry and support in what lay before Jesus when he entered Jerusalem. In Moses’s presence and conversation Jesus was encouraged and confirmed in his entering Jerusalem and in completing his mission.

Then there’s Elijah. What a prophet he was living and working in the break-away nation of Israel! In the Northern Kingdom, the influence of Jezebel had seduced Israel away from the God of the Exodus in favor of the fertility, agricultural gods that were Baal and Astarte. Elijah set up a contest to prove whose god was the true and real God. The priests of Baal lost their lives. Jezebel wanted revenge and swore to take Elijah’s life. Elijah escaped into the desert, burdened by his failure to win back Israel for God. He prayed to die. Instead, he was fed and sent to the Mount Sinai of Moses’ Law. There he begged to see God. Was this for Elijah a request to confirm his faith? Did the outcome of the contest with the priests of Baal shake his belief in God and God’s presence? Even though God’s intervention in the contest was clear, yet doubts must have flooded his spirit. God placed Elijah in a cave. There came great violence in nature but God was not in the bluster and show of power. At last there came a gentle whisper of a breeze. God instructed Elijah to hide his face until God passed by. Elijah would be permitted to see God’s back. And then came God, not in terrible power, in shaking of earth’s foundations. God came by the mouth of the cave as a slight breeze, a gentle blowing of wind that rustled no leaves, picked up no dust. What a lesson for us! God is in the smallness, in the gentleness, in the quiet of a scarcely felt breeze. Both Moses and Elijah felt their failures. Yet for both it was apparent God’s plan reached fulfillment despite their ego, despite their doubts. So, it would be with Jesus. So it is for each of us, Jesus would enter Jerusalem in triumphant procession, as a King entering his reigning city. And just days later he would be judged worthy of death by the authorities of faith and of civil governance. Jesus certainly appeared to be a failure. But we should not misunderstand God’s plans. In the messages of Moses and Elijah and all other prophets of the Covenant of Sinai and in our life-times, the covenant of Gethsemane and Calvary we ought to realize God’s plan takes suffering that comes to us through the malevolence of others or incompleteness of nature transfiguring it into an opportunity for God to save us.

If we think about the first reading we’ll see the necessity of faith in the working of God’s plan. Abram and Sarai were doing quite well in Ur of the Chaldees. They were living a full life. God came to Abram and told him to go out from the land of his father, go out to an undisclosed place. It was as though God was telling Abram, "Trust me! If you do as I tell you, you’ll become a great nation, your name will be remembered forever, and through you, I will shower blessings on those you bless and curse those you curse." But even more incomprehensible God tells Abram, "All the communities on the earth shall find blessing in you." This is so beyond tribal understanding and culture of the Iron Age. This is a promise that would strike a citizen of that era as impossible. There were no jets, no internet, no video chats. How could Abram understand what God was telling him? The final line of that first reading is beyond human belief. "Abram went as the Lord directed him." What an act of faith that caused Abram and Sarai to leave all they knew and venture out to an unknown place. Genesis marks for us the wanderings of Abram and Sarai till they came at last to the land of Canaan. Along the routes, Abram built altars to the God who called them. And oh, God renamed Abram to Abraham. The name applied to Abram who was childless in advanced age meant the Father of a Great People – great in the sense of multitude.

On the mountain of Transfiguration, Jesus received the Father’s stamp of approval for his final effort. That final effort is a revelation of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Human life is guided by the Law and the prophets. And in the final era of humanity, it is guided by the Father. "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased: listen to Him." It is as though God’s presence is summed up in the words, the healings, and the suffering and death of Jesus. Well, not exactly completed with the dying. The final work of God through Jesus is the Resurrection. In that new creation of Jesus, we have the final phase of our own living. Through our living on this earth, we come to listen to Jesus and follow in the Way he demonstrates and teaches and heals. His presence, his efforts, his teachings, his healings, his incomparable suffering in Gethsemane and Calvary we have a model about what being children of God is about. If we go through this Lent focused only on the pain and the suffering we’ll miss how God’s will works. Our sufferings, our sacrifices in this Lent are the ways we arrive at Easter. If we fail to climb the mountain with Peter, James, and John as they follow Jesus, our Easter will be just an event for brightness and celebration. If we climb the mountain to understand the Father’s work for all persons – the "all communities in the story of Abram and Sarai" – through the Law, through the Prophets, and in the final era through the presence and work of Jesus – then our Easter will be more than a moment in life. Then Easter will be the beginning of enhanced living now and a beginning within our spirits of new meaning, purpose, and joy-filled peace. That’s a foretaste of the meaning and impact of the Resurrected Jesus. He enters the locked up room of our hearts then and gently whispers as the slight breeze of Elijah – "Peace be with you!"

Dennis Keller









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