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Sunday, March 19, 2000

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Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18
Romans 8:31-34
Psalm 116
Mark 9:2-10

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"Listen to Him." —Mark 9:7

Jesus said: "If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and follow in My steps. Whoever would preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will preserve it" (Mk 8:34-35). However, "the crowd with His disciples" (Mk 8:34) did not listen to Jesus. Therefore, "six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John off by themselves with Him and led them up a high mountain. He was transfigured before their eyes" (Mk 9:2). While they were beholding Jesus in the glory of His divinity, "Elijah appeared to them along with Moses" (Mk 9:4). Next, "a cloud came, overshadowing them, and out of the cloud a voice: 'This is My Son, My Beloved. Listen to Him' " (Mk 9:7).  Jesus' Transfiguration on the mountain, with Moses and Elijah returned from the dead, and with the Father's command coming from the cloud was a dramatic, spectacular attempt to get us to listen to Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus' Transfiguration was not immediately successful.

When Jesus brought up again His suffering and cross, His disciples "failed to understand His words," and "they were afraid to question Him" (Mk 9:32). We are too often spiritually hard of hearing. We don't hear God and don't want to hear God. For example, before a mob murdered Stephen, the first Christian martyr, "the onlookers were shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears as they did so" (Acts 7:57). We all are tempted to put our hands over our ears and refuse to listen to Jesus.

However, Jesus wants to renew our Baptisms by again putting His fingers into our sin-clogged ears and commanding "Ephphatha" ("Be opened") (see Mk 7:33-34). Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will listen to Jesus about the cross, love, and life.

Prayer:  Father, in this Lent of the Great Jubilee, may I hear revelations that will change the world.

Promise:  "If God is for us, who can be against us?" —Rm 8:31

Praise:  Praise Jesus, transfigured, risen, and glorified God!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, July 28, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 1999