RSS

Category Archives: 2nd Sunday of Lent

2nd Sunday of Lent Year C. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. ‘LISTEN TO MY SON’ NOW!!

 

 Transfiguration 2

On the second Sunday of Lent each year, the gospel is always about the Transfiguration of Jesus, of which we have several accounts in the Gospels. Today’s account is from St. Luke and his community. Once again, we read of Jesus inviting Peter, James, and John to climb a mountain, and join him in prayer. This means that they would have been close in proximity to Jesus while he was in prayer! We are told that Jesus was praying, which seemed to be quite a familiar scene to the apostles, who accompanied him. Meanwhile, it is very good to keep in mind that the mention of MOUNTAINS in Scripture is not just by chance; mountains are places of revelation, of profound stillness, within conversation and enlightenment, caused by The Divine. This time, however, something out of the ordinary happened; the veil was lifted, and they got a glimpse of the divinity of Jesus. Moses and Elijah appeared with him, and they were talking together.

Transfiguration 4

Before we go any further, let’s just pause for a moment! Often in religious art, the Transfiguration is portrayed with some distance between the Apostles and the action with Jesus. However, when we look not only at the words but into the words of Scripture, we can safely conclude that the Transfiguration happened right among them! The apostles were privy to Our Lord’s conversation with Moses and Elijah, and they were chatting about the coming Passion and Death of Jesus! Notice, that the apostles were very tired: were they dreaming? Why were they tired? Too much work to do? Or was their sleepiness a sign that there ‘faith-insight’ was getting tired? Questions like: ‘What is this following Jesus all about? Is it just too much to bear?’

26th Sunday year B Jesus with disciples discussing

If these were some of their questions, they surely could well be some of our own questions too! So, often when we invest ourselves into a project, there are times, when it all becomes too heavy….’I just can’t go on!’ Then suddenly there is light at the end of the tunnel! There is a purpose, there is a reason, this is the truth, and it is real! We are not finished with this yet; one more aspect to take note of: Can we ask the question as to what was going on inside the apostles as they were experiencing this Transfiguration? I deliberately say THIS because in the Gospels there are other kinds of Transfigurations. In order for us to arrive at some understanding of what was going on inside the apostles at this Transfiguration, we could do well to ask ourselves ‘what has gone on inside ourselves’ during times of Transfiguration in the past? Now, if we say, ‘Oh, I am not holy enough to experience this’, that is incorrect! Look at the track record of Peter, James and John! If it was good enough for them, it is good enough for us! Was your transfiguration experience a time when your Baby was born into this world!

Was it a time through deep conversation that an inner conversion with self, had taken place, and the black hole that you were in was now filled with light? Was it a time when you were present with a precious loved one who was dying?

Then suddenly, the atmosphere in the room changes, you can feel this in your stomach, in your head, and time seems to pause, you feel that someone else is in the room…..maybe the beloved partner of the dying person, who had died years before? Maybe, if the dying person’s pet dog is on the bed during all of this, and suddenly stands up, ears pricked, and smartly walks down to the end of the bed, and lovingly watches their owner. Maybe at the same time as all of this, your family member who was dying, suddenly and momentarily moves in the bed; her face breaking into a youthful smile at her beloved who is visiting her; is that light at the end of the tunnel? Now, if you have been present in the room during this transfiguration, the feeling can be: ‘Let’s contain this renewed and warm sense of family!’ Your stomach may feel unknotted, or a warm and gentle breeze brushes past the cheeks on your face! A time when all stops; a moment of timelessness exists, the ambience within the room is gentle light………’we want to encase it, we want to hold onto this glimpse of peace, love and warmth. This can be a preparation to pass into the loving embrace of God, accompanied by the one who provoked the all-embracing smile of happiness……then, all returns to what it was, but not as it was, because we have experienced transfiguration, and we can never go back; this experience is the new normal! It does something special IN us!

The Three Chapels on Mt Tabor.

Back into the Gospel story, we see Peter, as usual, was right there with a suggestion: This scene is so beautiful in every aspect, which he wanted to build some kind of accommodation, so that they could continue to live there and contain what had happened. Moses and Elijah disappeared, however, and in the midst of some sort of misty cloud, they heard the Father’s voice announcing ‘this is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him’. Everything then returned to normal, and the apostles kept the event a secret for a long time after it happened. Could they return to normal? The Apostles were also changed. However, what effect did that special event have on their minds and understanding of Jesus, and of the Mission entrusted to him by His Father? What can we learn from this event today? Food for thought!

Mt.Sinai at daybreak

In the Scriptures, there are many references in the Old and New Testament about the significance of Revelations on top of mountains. Some of these special occasions would most certainly be the encounter that Moses had with The Lord God YHWH on Mt.Sinai. The very place where God initiated the Covenant with his people, and gave them the Ten Commandments or Decalogue (Ten Words) as a guide for them. Remember Mt.Nebo? The place where Moses and the chosen people viewed the Promised Land?…it was the Mountain where the promises made by the Lord God were fulfilled. Of course, Mt.Calvary, the place of the Lord’s Cross; so closely linked to Mt.Tabor, the Mountain in today’s Gospel.

Mt.Nebo in present day Jordan where Moses viewed the Promised Land.

The Mount of the Temptations is on the opposite side of the Valley from Mt Nebo

Mountains are places of revelation, they are places of deepened insight; it’s where we can come to that stillness within a prayer-filled moment. It is that kind of experience which we, like the Apostles would like to have captured, so that the pervading influence would continue. I am sure that there have been times of ‘stillness’ in our own lives, when the feeling and sense of ‘at-one-ness’ with God, and those around us, enable us to know deep in our being, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Moments like that, we too want to contain. This precious moment can give us a real glimpse of hope. We do not need to climb mountains physically to experience this, but every now and then it does happen, if we allow ourselves to hear what is being said to us in the stillness of the moment; in that special place and moment which is our personal mountain top. Food for thought, eh?

13th Sunday of Year A Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa 2

Hopefully this second week of Lent will encourage us to see once again, the need and time for ‘prayer’ in our lives, and a hunger for the Scriptures to nourish us. The biggest challenge is finding the time and space to do it! It is only when we, STOP and LOOK, can we really LISTEN! Can we see the saving hand of God in our lives, and in the lives of our community? This silent space enables us to have that moment when we too can be changed – transfigured by hearing the words in our hearts, that we are in fact the “Beloved” of God. This ability to see and hear, causes us to reverence, respect, forgive and love each other in a renewed way even more, because we are fortified by Christ’s love…..food for the journey as companions of each other in Christ.

Let us pray……

3rd Sunday of Lent Year A Pic 9

We give thanks to God, our Father, for the glory of his transfigured Son: we are offered the invitation to reflect him as in a mirror and be continually transformed: this great offer is given to us at Baptism, confirmed in the Spirit at Confirmation, and sustained by the Bread of life, and listening to God’s Word with our bodies, our minds and our hearts. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen

kevin.w3@bigpond.com

kevin-3

 

2 Lent Reflection.JPG

Heart Flame 4

 

 

 

Advertisements
 

2nd Sunday of Lent Year B. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney – Australia. LISTENING TO GOD! WE CAN’T GO WRONG! kevin.w3@bigpond.com

Transfiguration 4

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

Many years ago when I was a little kid of about 10 years old we lived in what we call in Australia, a dead end street in Cammeray, Sydney. That had nothing to do with the people who lived in the street, but the end of our Street was the End. The street ended at the top of a small cliff. Now going back into the late 50’s and 60’s we did not have Computers, but we did have Television sets….yes, black and white ones. All the kids in the street knew each other, and played all sorts of games together after school, and at weekends……there was no play station! Our family was especially friendly with another Family across the road, and one of the older boys in the family had promised to take me to the Zoo on a particular Saturday. Maybe, he wanted to leave me in the Zoo, I’m not sure. But both families were really close friends. The night before our proposed trip to the Zoo, I could hardly sleep because I was so excited of what would happen the next day. My friend was supposed to come over to our place at 9.00am, and then we would get the 9.10am Bus to Neutral Bay. Then catch a Tram to the Zoo. For Sydneysiders….you can tell that it was about fifty years ago……. eh? Trams, if only we had them back again! Well, 9.00am came! I was waiting on the front Veranda of our House. 9.05 came and went, 9.10 came, and I saw the Bus go by, 9.15am, I could not understand why my friend had not shown up. Mum and Dad told me to wait till 9.30am, and then I could go over the road to see what was happening. I tell you, it took ages to get to 9.30! It was like watching and waiting for a kettle to boil. Then I was off! When I got to the front door of the House his Mum said that he was still asleep! I said, ASLEEEEEEEP! He promised me that he would take me to the Zoo today! For a little kid, like me that was a traumatic experience, because I had such trust in him, and it was built on friendship. That was the first time that I can remember that I was let down by someone who was my friend.

6th Sunday after Easter Year A nothing is impossible

The theme which runs through the three readings today is about fidelity, trust, obedience and absolute faithfulness. For starters, we know that God called Abraham to make the biggest sacrifice in his life, and Abraham obeyed God’s request. But let’s look at what obedience means here. It is much more than just doing the task of sacrificing his Son in response to an instruction; biblical obedience is listening not just with the intellect, but with body, mind and spirit. Obedience is total listening, and feeling the consequences of the invitation, as well as being aware of the pain within the response. In short we could say that biblical obedience is holistic listening to God. I think that we can even take this a bit further in understanding what this really means. So often when we read the Scriptures we can do it from an information point of view, in other words, getting the meaning of the story and analysing it, then saying, what implications does it have for me?. If we stay with that method, we can run the risk of staying on the surface of its import and invitation. Look at the water striders on a pond, they stand and walk on the water, but they can never get below the surface. We have the ability and gifts to go beneath the surface of the Scriptures, and be submerged into its words! For example, let’s take the story of Abraham being asked to prepare an Altar of Sacrifice for his Son Isaac. Within the activity of preparation, there are inarticulate groans and internal wrestling’s taking place within the person of Abraham. Can we hear them? Can we feel it? Can our ‘seeing’ of this event stir our faith? To make myself a bit clearer, because I get carried away with this, just imagine that you are going to my special Store in Australia….Bunning’s Hardware, or for our UK readers, it’s like going to Mica Hardware. I want to buy two 30 Litre bags of Potting Mix. When I look at the bags, my mind is already processing the effort that will be needed to put one 30 Litre Bag in the Trolley, let alone two. Then I brace myself to pick the bag up correctly so that I don’t do my back in….when I make the holistic response to pick up the bag, I often make an inarticulate groan….as I do the job, and put it in the Trolley. That to my way of thinking is a holistic approach to the complete task. I believe that in our faith-responses we make inarticulate groans, and in fact while at ‘prayer’ I am totally sure of it….let’s see what St. Paul has to say about this in relation to ‘prayer’. Romans 8:26-27…’ The spirit comes to the aid of our weakness. We do not even know how to pray, but through our inarticulate groans the Spirit Himself is pleading for us, and God who searches our inmost being knows what the Spirit means, because He pleads for God’s own people in God’s own way.’ Now how good is that? Now this at first glance might be a bit un nerving because we are aware that God’s knows really what’s going on inside us, but really isn’t that good? We don’t need to put on a face or a mask in order to present well when God asks something deep from us? Let’s have a look at Psalm: – Ps. 138

Jesus in the the Garden of AgonythZ2J42HCG
The Response to the Psalm is: O Lord, you search me and you know me.

O where can I go from your spirit,
Or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the Heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there. RESPONSE

If I take the wings of the dawn
And dwell at the sea’s furthest end,
Even there your hand would lead me,
Your right hand would hold me fast. RESPONSE

If I say: ‘Let the darkness hide me
And the light around me be night,’
Even darkness is not dark for you
And the night is as clear as the day. RESPONSE

O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path
And lead me in the path of eternal life. RESPONSE

Notice that the Response to the Psalm is our community Twitter message to God: Just imagine if that message were on our lips, in our minds and hearts all day! What great food for thought for our inarticulate groans of prayer with God! This simple method or ‘way’ is the foundation for contemplative prayer. We don’t have to live in a Monastery or Convent to use this ‘way’ in conversation with the Lord. Let’s go back to the Twitter message in the Psalm; in rolling this antiphon around and around in our minds till we are saturated with it…..just PAUSE….and let the momentum of the Meditation launch you into silence….yes, that means saying nothing. I find that hard because my friends tell me that I have an opinion on everything….so as we were; Let go, and let the inarticulate groans within your spirit be nudged along by the Holy Spirit. This is an act of Faith! Just let go of your words and let the Spirit take over in nothingness. It might seem like a boring task, but we do PAUSE in silence many times in our day. In today’s Gospel which we will move onto very soon, after I have had another cup of Tea, there is a tremendous Twitter message from God: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’

Palm of God's Hand 41O3C+l3fYL__AC_UL115_

In the second Reading St. Paul in his Letter to the Christian Community in Rome assures them, that God is totally faithful and would never leave them or forget them, using the example of the death and rising of Jesus as the father’s Son.

Let’s have a look at fidelity. The foundational building blocks of all relationships are trust and fidelity. Without this, there can be no certainty within relationships. We have all experienced in all kids on ways times when we have failed in fidelity and times when other have failed in it as well. However, just imagine if I had made up my mind after my friend forgot to take me to the Zoo that was it! No more, I will never trust anyone again! How stupid that would have been. That is where conversation with my Mum and Dad, and my sister helped me work through it, and build from it. The key to reconciliation is conversation. If we start talking about Reconciliation without the desire to meet others who are involved in it, then the healing process won’t happen; then it is a waste of time! St. Paul and the whole of the Scriptures time and time again tell us of God’s desire that we come back if we have strayed. The rest of it has to do with us, and working with Grace, so that we can make that return to God and others, possible and a reality.

2nd Sunday of Lent year A 8

Now, let’s have a look at the Gospel. The opening sentence immediately tells us that something important is going to happen because of the ascent of a mountain. In the Bible, Mountains are places of revelation, they are places of epiphany that is unveiling of the sacred, and they are also places of deep and mystical conversations as well as ‘listening in silence.’ Look at what happened on the mountain in the first reading today? Look at what happened on Mt.Sinai; look at what happened on Mt Nebo in present day Jordan? Moses and his companions saw the breath taking expanse of ‘the promised land’. (The fulfilment of God’s promise)

timthumb dare to dream

Now, let’s look at more than Geography here….what happens in us when we ascend a mountain, either by foot, Camel, Motor bike or Car? It would seem that there can be a percolating excitement within. When we reach to the top and see the view, we often say that it is ‘breath-taking’. It takes our breath away! It causes us to gaze in holistic stillness; and we are then deeply tuned in to ‘listening’. I will never forget arriving at the summit of Mt.Sinai for day break, and the last thing that I wanted to do was talk! That’s a bit unusual for me. The words that were being said and echoed caused me to sit on the ground…I just could not stand up. A truly holy place, why? Because of the millions of people who have brought their ‘lived-faith’ to that place and this has given them insight into the mystery of conversation, initiated by the Lord God.

Mt Tabor

Now, let’s go to Mt.Tabor…the Holy Mountain. These days this mountain is a great launching place for Hang Gliders! However, the mystery and holiness of the place is well and truly there. As we keep in mind the ‘breath-taking’ experience in ascending a high mountain and beholding the view, let’s hang onto that experience as the mystery and message of the Transfiguration unfolds for the three Apostles who were privy to this moment.

Let’s look very closely at the text, for meanings that could escape us, if we either rush through it, or just treat the story at an academic level. Notice it was Jesus who initiated this hike up the mountain. Now notice that in their presence, that is within the close proximity of conversation Jesus is ‘changed’, Elijah and Moses appear within the proximity of conversation…..It does not say that Jesus retreated to a higher part of the mountain and then the Transfiguration took place. No! It happened right there in their midst. In the English translation of the Lectionary it then says that while Jesus and the two Old Testament Fathers were held in conversation with Jesus…..and notice that nothing about the contents of that conversation is made known to us, but it says the following. ‘Then Peter spoke to Jesus. Rabbi it is wonderful for us to be here etc.’ However in the Greek text the translation does not say that Peter spoke to Jesus, but rather Peter answered Jesus….Rabbi it is wonderful for us to be here etc. So therefore, it seems to me that the three apostles were in the midst of this experience. Peter understood this experience as a moment of the Apostles’ inclusion. In other words this moment was an invitation to Peter, who in speaking up for the group, puts into words their threefold response. ‘It is wonderful for us to be here etc.’

Shine

Now, I bet that you have had experiences of spiritual transfiguration within natural moments in your life time, which due to their intensity and fathomless depths have caused you to say so spontaneously…..’O Lord it is wonderful for us to be here’. Was it at the birth of your Baby? Was it when all seemed lost for you, and angel in human form was the saving hand of God for you? Was it when ‘love’ embraced you, and you wished deeply for that moment to be captured eternally? Was it when you experienced without a shadow of a doubt that God was with you in a particular moment? All the above, and many more experiences change us; we can be transfigured through them, and our faith is charged with new insight, and our whole being ‘listens’ anew.

images Annunciation

Notice that the three Apostles were frightened, sacred out of their wits during this experience? Look at Our Lady at the Annunciation, she too was frightened……the Angel noticing her fright, said to her ‘Do not be afraid, you have won God’s favour!’ Notice that during the frightful experience of the Apostles, a cloud covered them with shadow, and the words were heard…’ This beloved, my Son, listen to him.’ (In the Greek translation, my is used twice…a form of emphasis not a typo) Let’s stay with the cloud, the mist, the breath of God. In Genesis chapter 1 it says, ‘In the beginning there was darkness over the world, God’s Spirit hovered over that darkness, and life appeared…..’ God’s Spirit, God’s breath hovered over the darkness and it was the first cause of life’s initiation! At Pentecost, the Risen Lord breathed on the Apostles and turned their fright and timidity into loving boldness and outreach. In the Transfiguration we see that the Apostles were fortified by this experience, and that the early Church Catechetic (teaching) guaranteed that Jesus is the Christ! The promised one of the Old Testament. Listen to His Words, and act on them.

Gods Word th36RKBOOR

As I look back over this realhomilie it seems as though I have gone on and on….But that is the beauty and miracle of the Scriptures. God’s Word is evergreen, for all times and seasons, God’s Word is in a state of perpetual motion and its echo has been and will continue to be available to all. Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again!

 

Fr Kevin Walsh.  Sydney Australia

kevin-3Heart Cross

 

2nd Sunday of Lent Year B, 2018. A Biblical Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. LISTEN TO JESUS.

2nd Sunday of Lent year A 8.jpg

God says to us: “This is my Son, the beloved. Listen to him” (Mk 9:7).

A person giving a sermon or homily might sometimes wonder: -“How many people are really listening? Is anybody listening from start to finish? Will those listening now remember anything later on? In any case, can a homily ever start to change another person’s life?” I know of one particular instance where it definitely did.

Drugs

There’s this man called Mark, who lives a long way away. At 12, he was a bit wild at school. At 14, he was smoking and drinking. At 16, he started taking drugs, ¬mostly cannabis, speed and ecstasy. At 18, he moved on to heroin. At 19, he was injecting crack and heroin every day. At 22, his life seemed completely destroyed. He had no home, no family, and almost no possessions other than the clothes he stood up in. He had lost one leg when he was high and walked in front of a car. He had tried to kill himself three times – twice by taking drug overdoses, once by trying to hang himself. When he went to church, it was not to pray but to beg from the people there. He found that just after Mass people are generous.

But one Sunday, the gospel of the Transfiguration was read. In the homily he heard the priest say this:

4th Sunday of Lent Year A Brian 2

“The meaning of the Transfiguration is that God does not make junk. God created the world – and what God makes is good. And ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’”(Romans 8:31)

At the end of his homily, the priest made all the people stand up and say with conviction: “God made me; God doesn’t make junk.” So, along with all the rest, Mark felt compelled to get up and say: “God made me; God doesn’t make junk.”

But for many days later, those words burned into Mark’s heart: “God made me; God doesn’t make junk.” It became his prayer. It became his faith. It became his life.

2nd Sunday of Lent year B Family

With the courage of his new convictions behind him, Mark gave up drugs. He found a wife and he found a life. Not in a moment, of course, nor even in a few weeks, but over months and years he was transfigured and transformed. He took to heart the implications of the Transfiguration of Jesus: “God made me; God doesn’t make junk”, and “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

What about us? Where do we stand? Do we really want to be transfigured and transformed by listening to Jesus our Saviour – listening to his words, his teachings, his example, and his inspiration? Do we?

Transfiguration 4

Surely we do!

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson special photo

Passionist logo Australia thRXU5IKLT

 

Tags: