Thursday, March 17, 2011

Strength that comes from God

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Second Sunday in Lent—A

Genesis: 12:1-4a
2Timothy 1: 8b-10
Matthew 17:1-9

How often have you received a word of encouragement at the precise moment at which you needed it? A phone call, an email, a “chance” encounter with a friend, the simple wisdom of an innocent child, or an inner epiphany of sorts that sheds new light on everything.

We’ve all received them at one time or another. Occasionally, such moments provide strength we did not realize we had to accomplish something we would never have dreamed of previously. In today’s first reading, the patriarch Abraham is called by God to leave everything behind to go somewhere else for a purpose yet to be revealed. But the command comes with a promise of untold blessing. So, by faith, Abraham sets out to accomplish by grace God’s design for him.

Such a promise is revealed in the Gospel as Jesus appears transfigured on the mountaintop to Peter, James, and John. Significantly, in Matthew’s chapter (16) before this scene, Jesus had begun to foretell his crucifixion and speak of the high cost of discipleship for anyone wishing to follow him. So, the Transfiguration is a moment of light, a word of encouragement to the same three apostles who will later be present during Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. After his death and resurrection, it becomes a source of hope and strength in their mission of spreading the Gospel and enduring hardship and persecution.

As St. Paul says in the second reading, “bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God,” because Jesus has “destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Like Abraham, God has designs for each one of us, and it is by his grace that we CAN accomplish them!

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