Sunday Scriptures Reflection for 2/24/13

transfig duccioScripture: Lectionary 27. Feb. 24th. 2nd Sunday in Lent (C Cycle).  Genesis 15:5-12. 17-18.  Psalm 27: 1:7-8.8-9.13-14.  Phiilippians 3:17-14:1.  Luke 9:28-36:

What a powerful first reading.  We are privy to listening to Abraham addressing God for the first time.  He calls God ADONAI ELOHIM ( Lord God).  This title is used in a context of grievance, prayer, or request.  Abraham is concerned about the future of his inheritance since he has no offspring.  “No material reward can equal the blessing of having children.”  Abraham is told to look to the heaven and to imagine himself counting the stars—an impossible task!  This action will help Abraham to see that God is about to make a promise, yes, and even a covenant with his faithful servant.  Abraham makes a firm statement of his faith and trust in God and it is credited to him as his justice, his righteousness.  God then reinforces the covenant by his very essence and existence saying “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur.  The covenant will not only bring an offspring to Abraham but also will reward him with the gift of the land extending from Egypt to Mesopotamia.  It is God who initiates the covenant with the patriarch.  The ritual of sacrifice is then described. The cutting in half of the larger animals designates the punishment if one would not keep his or her part of the covenant.  The violators would be cut in half, as criminals were according to the Mesopotamian sources.  Abraham performs the ritual and falls into a deep sleep accompanied by an awareness of the awesome presence of God.  The covenant has been confirmed and Abraham will continue to be faithful to it.  Abraham asks a question about the promise of land, “O Lord God, how shall I know that I am to possess it? (Genesis 15:8).  This verse may refer to Abraham’s commitment to faith even without proof, and is Abraham’s plea: “I believe, can I know that my belief is reasonable and not merely wishful thinking? I believe but, I will continue to question and challenge, out of the context of my belief.” (paraphrase of Etz Hayim, p.84, footnote).  This is similar to St. Anselm’s saying: “Fides quaerens intellectum.” (Faith seeking an understanding).

Psalm 27, a favorite of mine, is a psalm of light. It reminds me that Jesus identifies himself with the light in one of the ego eimi statements in John’s Gospel.  Jesus is for us the light of the world in whom there is no darkness.

Paul in his letter to the Philippians calls us like Isaiah does, to stand firm in our faith.  We see this connects with the strong faith of Abraham, our ancestor in faith.  Paul as our mentor is always encouraging us to be conformed to Christ (conformes fieri Christo).  He lives out his role as another Christ telling us earlier in this epistle, “For me to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21).

Luke, the Evangelist of prayer, starts his narrative about the Transfiguration of Jesus accompanied by Moses and Elijah by telling us Jesus went to the mountain to pray with Peter, James, and John.  Moses represents the greatest of the prophets who gave us the Torah; Elijah is the prophet who worked wonders.  We have combined in them the Law and the Prophets with Jesus in the middle.  Like Abraham, Peter, James, and John experience the event while being stupefied by it.  Luke gives the Transfiguration a special significance by using the word “exodus” in his narrative for Jesus passing from this experience to the Paschal Mysteries of his suffering, death, and resurrection. We are thus within the context of our Lenten journey with Jesus similar to the Exodus of Israel from Egypt.   Soon after the Transfiguratrion, Luke’s long Journey Narrative to Jerusalem begins (Luke 9:51-19:44).  During this journey we unite ourselves to Peter, James, and John who are being formed in their discipleship to become apostles of the Good News.  Amen.

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Scripture: Lectionary 27. Feb. 24th. 2nd Sunday in Lent (C Cycle).  Genesis 15:5-12. 17-18.  Psalm 27: 1:7-8.8-9.13-14.  Phiilippians 3:17-14:1.  Luke 9:28-36:

What a powerful first reading.  We are privy to listening to Abraham addressing God for the first time.  He calls God ADONAI ELOHIM ( Lord God).  This title is used in a context of grievance, prayer, or request.  Abraham is concerned about the future of his inheritance since he has no offspring.  “No material reward can equal the blessing of having children.”  Abraham is told to look to the heaven and to imagine himself counting the stars—an impossible task!  This action will help Abraham to see that God is about to make a promise, yes, and even a covenant with his faithful servant.  Abraham makes a firm statement of his faith and trust in God and it is credited to him as his justice, his righteousness.  God then reinforces the covenant by his very essence and existence saying “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur.  The covenant will not only bring an offspring to Abraham but also will reward him with the gift of the land extending from Egypt to Mesopotamia.  It is God who initiates the covenant with the patriarch.  The ritual of sacrifice is then described. The cutting in half of the larger animals designates the punishment if one would not keep his or her part of the covenant.  The violators would be cut in half, as criminals were according to the Mesopotamian sources.  Abraham performs the ritual and falls into a deep sleep accompanied by an awareness of the awesome presence of God.  The covenant has been confirmed and Abraham will continue to be faithful to it.  Abraham asks a question about the promise of land, “O Lord God, how shall I know that I am to possess it? (Genesis 15:8).  This verse may refer to Abraham’s commitment to faith even without proof, and is Abraham’s plea: “I believe, can I know that my belief is reasonable and not merely wishful thinking? I believe but, I will continue to question and challenge, out of the context of my belief.” (paraphrase of Etz Hayim, p.84, footnote).  This is similar to St. Anselm’s saying: “Fides quaerens intellectum.” (Faith seeking an understanding).

Psalm 27, a favorite of mine, is a psalm of light. It reminds me that Jesus identifies himself with the light in one of the ego eimi statements in John’s Gospel.  Jesus is for us the light of the world in whom there is no darkness.

Paul in his letter to the Philippians calls us like Isaiah does, to stand firm in our faith.  We see this connects with the strong faith of Abraham, our ancestor in faith.  Paul as our mentor is always encouraging us to be conformed to Christ (conformes fieri Christo).  He lives out his role as another Christ telling us earlier in this epistle, “For me to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21).

Luke, the Evangelist of prayer, starts his narrative about the Transfiguration of Jesus accompanied by Moses and Elijah by telling us Jesus went to the mountain to pray with Peter, James, and John.  Moses represents the greatest of the prophets who gave us the Torah; Elijah is the prophet who worked wonders.  We have combined in them the Law and the Prophets with Jesus in the middle.  Like Abraham, Peter, James, and John experience the event while being stupefied by it.  Luke gives the Transfiguration a special significance by using the word “exodus” in his narrative for Jesus passing from this experience to the Paschal Mysteries of his suffering, death, and resurrection. We are thus within the context of our Lenten journey with Jesus similar to the Exodus of Israel from Egypt.   Soon after the Transfiguratrion, Luke’s long Journey Narrative to Jerusalem begins (Luke 9:51-19:44).  During this journey we unite ourselves to Peter, James, and John who are being formed in their discipleship to become apostles of the Good News.  Amen.

Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.

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