The Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent presents the temptations of Christ, which tells us that Jesus was human and experienced temptations, as we do. The Gospel for the second Sunday, which we hear this weekend, is the Transformation, which emphasizes that Jesus is also divine.
In the Transfiguration, the Father speaks from the cloud for the second time; the first time was at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Baptist. There is a big difference between the two, even though Jesus is identified as the Son in both of them.
At the baptism, the Father says, You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. The Father is speaking directly TO Jesus, acknowledging Him as His Son, and encouraging Him as Jesus is about to start His active ministry. I think it is fair to interpret this as a commission from the Father that Jesus should go forth and minister.
At the Transfiguration, the Father says, This is my chosen Son; listen to him. The Father is speaking to Peter, James, and John, assuring them that Jesus is his Son and that they (and we) should listen to Him.
LISTEN TO HIM: it is not enough for us to acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Master; we also have to listen to Him. How? Jesus calls us to do good to those who hate us and to pray for those who mistreat us. He calls us to be merciful, forgiving, and generous, without expecting anything back. He tells us not to judge and not to condemn. These challenges, which deal with how we interact with others, are at the heart of being a Christian, of being a follower of Jesus who LISTENS TO HIM.
It is obvious by the words and actions of many who call themselves “Christians” in our country that they are not listening to Him. The divisions, the hateful words and actions, the physical attacks against airline employees, etc., etc., all indicate that we are not listening.
How am I doing personally? At home? In my family? At work? In the neighborhood? Am I listening? Am I loving, generous, forgiving? Do I avoid judging, condemning, and malicious speech? Do I bring peace and harmony by my words and actions?
I invite us to reflect on our lives this week: am I listening to Jesus and His challenges? How can I do better? God bless.
Church sign of the week: It is good to be a Christian and know it, but it is better to be a Christian and show it.