Jesus_The_Good_Shepherd_Byzantine_IconMy sisters and brothers in Christ,
God did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all–this phrase from the second reading today, from the Letter to the Romans, is the theme for this Second Sunday of Lent.

We can hardly imagine that a father would hand over his own son to die for others. We could not imagine that such a father would have any love for his own son.
Yet, if we read the Scriptures with open hearts, we come to find the wisdom of God there. The first reading today, from the Book of Genesis, is the story of Abraham being willing to kill his own son because he believed that God was asking that of him. Was Abraham wrong? Is it just a story? Is there any morality in it? All those kinds of questions are justified.

Yet, we are called to read with faith and to understand the meaning of the story: a person must be willing to give up everything for God.

All of us know this. No one, not even the persons that we most love, should interfere in our relationship with the living God. Yet we must pray that those whom we love can walk with us in the relationship to God, rather than get in our way. That is what we do when we love others.

But at the end, we must be willing to give up all for the sake of God.
The Gospel today, from Saint Mark, is about the Transfiguration of Christ. Always the first Sunday of Lent is about the temptations in the desert and the second is about the transfiguration. These two experiences go hand in hand, and in both of them there is an awareness of some special relationship with God, some special manifestation of spirit (even of Spirit) in which the people around Jesus feel and experience something divine.
Jesus is baptized and is willing to give everything for God. Jesus is tempted in the desert and is willing to give everything for God. Jesus is transfigured and the disciples with Him remember this
experience after His suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus is willing to give all for God. The challenge of the Gospel for us today is very clear and very stark: Am I willing to give everything for God? This is the challenge of Lent. We would like to give all for God and yet we don’t. Lent is to help us continue to move into action our deepest desire: all for God.

Father Jesus