Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Lent 2012

Here I Am Lord

A Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent 2012

Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18, Psalm 115:10,15-19,Romans 8:31-34, Mark 9:2-10

By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD

Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

A Ministry of the Nationsl Catholic Church of America

“God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied.” so begins the first reading for the Second Sunday of Lent. The reading tells the story of God testing Abraham’s faith and loyalty by asking him to sacrifice his only child. When Abraham is about to offer his son Isaac and angel of the Lord stopped him with these words; “But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ 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 son, your only son”

Exactly what should we learn from this reading? We should learn that God sometimes tests us by asking us to accept things or to do something that we normally would never think of doing. God asks us to bear burdens that are unpleasant or difficult in order to test us in our love and faith of God. Another important lesson we can learn is that if we accept these trials and burdens God will reward us just as he did Abraham with these words; “because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.”

The second reading for this Sunday strengthens and confirms what I believe we can gain from the readings with the following words; “With God on our side who can be against us? Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse anything he can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits, could anyone condemn? Could Christ Jesus? No! He not only died for us – he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us.”

“With God on our side who can be against us?” What comforting words and ones we need to hold securely in our hearts. If we seek God and love God and accept the burdens he gives us without complaint God will be there to sustain us and to lift us up. We need to remember that God will never ask us to carry a burden that we are unable to carry or that He will not remove when it begins to bee more than we can carry. The secret is that we need to place our trust in God and accept the challenge or burden as Abraham did. Christ was the ultimate sacrifice which was offered to God on our behalf. Christ suffered like no one else has ever sacrificed first by being rejected just as many who love God are rejected because they are divorced or their sexual orientation. Christ was then abused just as many children and others who may have physical or mental shortcomings or whose guardians or those who should protect them failed in their responsibility and demeaned them for their own personal pleasures or gain.

Christ then was humiliated and beaten and disgraced by the governmental and religious leaders because what He preached was not in the best interests of the powers in control but in the best interests all people especially the poor, sick, aged and marginalized.

Does any of this sound like what is happening now? How are we responding? Are we willing to do what is necessary even though it will be difficult or against the fashionable views of even our family, friends and neighbors?

The bottom line we should be following to assure our place in eternity is the great commandment Christ gave us; “Love the Lord, your God, with your whole being and love your neighbor as you love yourself” God proclaimed His instructions to us concerning Christ’s message after Christ was transfigured on the mountain as related in the Gospel for this Sunday; “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.”. During these weeks of lent as we are called to prepare and cleanse ourselves of our negative actions that are not in the best interests of all God’s children and try to live our daily life more in keeping with the teachings of Christ let us examine how many times we have responded to God’s call to us with these words; HERE I AM LORD !

I close with this prayer; Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my mind. Give me a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity, so that I may always and in all ways and things act according to Your Holy Will. Amen.

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