Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Second Sunday of Lent , March 20, 2011 (Cycle A)

Link to today's Readings, Psalm and Gospel

When in the Holy Land, there is a profound sense of mystery.  One of the reasons for this is the reason our seminary Rector, Monsignor Peter I. Vaccari has given.  He said that the "land" is the fifth Gospel.  What he is insinuating is that once you walk the land, see the "wadis", canyons, desert as well as the "fertile plains", everything changes with respect to your study of scripture.  You can make an "Application of the Senses", one of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  You can imagine the places that Jesus (and other biblical characters) visited, walked and talked about.
Info on "The Spiritual Exercises"
You can see (I hope) from this aerial picture of Jerusalem, the "City on a Hill" that the fertile plain of Jerusalem stands out from the surrounding Judean desert.  The reason for this is that there are many underground springs feeding the soil of the plateau on the city that King David built, 3000 years ago.  This makes it a giant oasis in the desert and undoubtedly an important piece of land to possess, notwithstanding its spiritual significance.

It was the place that Abram (later Abraham), the subject of the today's first Reading from Genesis encountered the priest-king Melchizadek, offering him 10% of his wealth for his sacrificial blessing (Genesis 14:17-24).  It was the place that God directed Abram to go, leaving behind his relatives and friends for an uncertain future, a future guided by his eventual covenant relationship with YHWH (FAITH).  This would be a relationship of mutual trust that sprang the great Judeo-Christian era that we live in today.  Abram became Abraham, the father of our faith and our first Prophet.

In our Gospel from Mathew, we hear about the "Transfiguration".  Jesus is changed on Mt. Tabor.
Mount Tabor (Hebrew: הַר תָּבוֹר‎‎, Arabic: {جبل الطور }, Greek: Όρος Θαβώρ) is located in Lower Galilee, at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, 11 miles (18 km) west of the Sea of Galilee, in Israel.

On this important site Jesus is changed into what some scholars call his "glorified body".  This is what his heavenly body looks like, "His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light" (see today's Gospel).  Here Sts. Peter, James and John hear the heavenly Father's voice, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  This scared them.  Jesus tells them to not be afraid and then orders them to be silent.

How will we be transfigured this Lent?  Will we react to the Gospel in a new way, or when Easter arrives will we fall back into our "old ways".  Let us make an attempt then this Easter to follow him more closely by ingraining some of our Lenten practices into our daily habits, rather than simply discarding them.

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