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Sunday, March 12, 2017

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Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 12:1-4
2 Timothy 1:8-10
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22
Matthew 17:1-9

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are you hardly working for the gospel?

"Bear your share of the hardship which the gospel entails." —2 Timothy 1:8

As a baptized child of God, you have a share in the blessings of the gospel (1 Cor 9:23; Eph 1:3). Likewise, you also have a share in the hardship the gospel of Christ requires (2 Tm 1:8).

Jesus in His mercy brings His disciples hope in the midst of hardships. In today's Gospel reading, Jesus takes three disciples up a mountain and allows them to experience His transfigured brilliance and glory (Mt 17:1ff). St. Peter understood this earthly dynamic between glory and suffering. He told us that the spiritual high of Jesus' Transfiguration was a light "shining in a dark place" for all of us who bear gospel hardships (2 Pt 1:16-19). Peter also understood them as a normal part of the gospel. He tells us: "Christ suffered in the flesh; therefore, arm yourselves with His same mentality" (1 Pt 4:1).

Our hardships are few compared to those of our ancestors in faith. Abram moved hundreds of miles at age seventy-five (Gn 12:1ff). Mary, the mother of Jesus, suffered many sorrows. Countless disciples have been martyred for the gospel. Most of us have not even endured one of the hardships mentioned in a partial list of St. Paul's sufferings for the gospel (2 Cor 11:23-33). "The present burden of our trial is light enough" (2 Cor 4:17), and the Lord gives us daily strength (2 Tm 1:8) and periodic glimpses of His glory so we can persevere (e.g. Mt 17:2).

"Take courage...says the Lord, and work" for the spread of the gospel (Hg 2:4). "With the strength which comes from God bear your share of the hardship which the gospel entails" (2 Tm 1:8).

Prayer:  Father, use my life in service of the gospel (Rm 15:16).

Promise:  "God has saved us and has called us to a holy life." —2 Tm 1:9

Praise:  Praise the transfigured, crucified and risen, glorified body of Jesus!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2016

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