Liturgy of the Sunday

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Second Sunday of Lent


First Reading

Genesis 22,1-2.9-13.15-18

It happened some time later that God put Abraham to the test. 'Abraham, Abraham!' he called. 'Here I am,' he replied. God said, 'Take your son, your only son, your beloved Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, where you are to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall point out to you.' When they arrived at the place which God had indicated to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven. 'Abraham, Abraham!' he said. 'Here I am,' he replied. 'Do not raise your hand against the boy,' the angel said. 'Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your own beloved son.' Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. The angel of Yahweh called Abraham a second time from heaven. 'I swear by my own self, Yahweh declares, that because you have done this, because you have not refused me your own beloved son, I will shower blessings on you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All nations on earth will bless themselves by your descendants, because you have obeyed my command.'

Psalmody

Psalm 115

Antiphon

Trust in the Lord all ye who are afraid.

I trusted, even when I said :
'I am sorely afflicted,'

and when I said in my alarm :
'No man can be trusted'.

Now can I repay the Lord
for his goodness to me?

'The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the Lord's name.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people.

O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.

Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds

A thanksgiving sacrifice I make :
I will call on the lord's name.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people,

in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in the midst, O Jerusalem.

Second Reading

Romans 8,31b-34

Since he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for the sake of all of us, then can we not expect that with him he will freely give us all his gifts? Who can bring any accusation against those that God has chosen? When God grants saving justice who can condemn? Are we not sure that it is Christ Jesus, who died -- yes and more, who was raised from the dead and is at God's right hand -- and who is adding his plea for us?

Reading of the Gospel

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Mark 9,2-10

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain on their own by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became brilliantly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus, 'Rabbi,' he said, 'it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and from the cloud there came a voice, 'This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.' Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus. As they were coming down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what 'rising from the dead' could mean.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Homily

The liturgy of this Second Sunday of Lent seems dominated by two mountains that stand tall, fascinating and terrible before our daily lives: Mount Moriah and Mount Tabor: the mountain of Abraham's test and the Mountain of Jesus' Transfiguration. The book of Genesis presents us with the three-day journey faced by the patriarch towards the peak of the test: it is the paradigm of every journey of faith, and of the very Lenten journey. Abraham must renounce his paternity to rely solely on the Word of God. It is not his son Isaac who will ensure him posterity, but only the Word of the Lord. And God puts him to the test by making him flash the possibility of the destruction of his descendance. After the test, Abraham receives Isaac not as a son of his flesh, but as the son of divine promise. He, who had given up Isaac's life, finds him again and can be full of joy, as the merciful father in the Gospel parable who exclaimed : he "had died and returned to life." Abraham receives Isaac as given back by God, and offers us an example of faith that will make him worshipped by future generations of Jews, Christians and Muslims, as "Father of all believers." May Abraham's faith accompany us in our daily pilgrimage!
The mountain of the Transfiguration, which future traditions identify with Mount Tabor, stands as the high point of Jesus' life with his disciples. The Lord takes and leads us with him on the mountain, as he did with his three closest friends, and shares the experience of intimate communion with the Father; an experience so profound as to transfigure his face, his body and even his clothes. Sometimes we forget that Jesus also had his spiritual journey. Jesus, as well as Abraham, then Moses, Elijah and every believer had to climb the mountain. Jesus felt the need to climb the mountain and meet with the Father. Tabor was one of them.
We can see in the Transfiguration also the Sunday liturgy in which we are all called to live united with Jesus, in the high moment of communion with God. It is right during the Holy Liturgy that we can repeat Peter's same words: "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings..." The Christian community, every believer is not given other than Jesus; he alone is the treasure, the wealth, the reason for our life and that of the Church. God himself, in fact built the dwelling Peter wanted to build with his own hands, when "the Word became flesh and came to make his dwelling among us" (Jn 1:14). In each liturgy God's dwelling welcomes us again. Regarding the Eucharist, Saint Thomas said that it is the workshop where the Church is built.