08 March, 2020. 2nd Sunday of Lent

1st Reading: Genesis 12:1-4

Abraham shows complete obedience to God, prepared to go wherever God directed

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Responsorial: Psalm 32: 4-5, 18-20, 22

Response: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you

The word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8-10

Suffering for the gospel will be repaid by our Saviour Jesus Christ

Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9

Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor prepares his apostles for his passion

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.

Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”


May your words, O Lord be on my lips, and in my heart. May they guide me on life’s journey and keep me near to you.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Life as Journey

The years of our life are hurrying by, each seeming shorter than the last. We are pilgrims on a journey from youth to age, from the cradle to the grave. In his dream-like poem The Lotus Eaters, Alfred Tennyson describes weary resignation, as one option we might take in light of the swiftly-passing years:

“Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
And in a little while our lips are dumb.
Let us alone. What is it that will last?
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.”

But from a heart full of faith and hope, the passing of the years can be seen in a more positive light. We believe that our journey is going somewhere. We have a destiny that does not end with death and burial, or cremation, if that’s what we choose for us. After this life, we trust we will emerge into a new kind life in God’s presence. On this earth we are pilgrims, like Abraham, moving toward the land of promise. Like St Paul, we try to deal with whatever problems and setbacks we meet along the way, with the help of the Lord. Finally, if we are faithful, we hope to be joined with Christ in glory, as the reward he has promised.

The English Evangelical pastor, John Bunyan (1628-1688) poetically described life as a Pilgrim’s Progress. In today’s age of easy mobility we are always on the go, constantly moving but often without any deep sense of purpose. In many respects our constant business can be holding us back from being all we are meant to be. Our ambitions and desires can be so short-term, narrow and superficial. Always seeking more money, or celebrity, pleasure and success, could trap us into a narrow circle. Life-pilgrims are focussed on higher targets, so that like Martin Luther King they can say: “I have a dream!” However hard to reach that dream may be, it worth striving for, quietly, day be day. Each day we build toward the goal God sets before us.

Can we see our own, personal life a pilgrimage towards God? Just as God called Abraham, so each of us is called to go on this pilgrimage. This quiet but insistent vocation to “leave your country and your father’s house” can be read as a call to decency and generosity, to “leaving old ways behind,” all pride and selfishness, arrogance, hard-heartedness, anger, envy or falsehood. Then the  directive to “Go to the land I shall show you” would point not in a geographical but a moral direction. The divine command could be interpreted as: “Go towards charity, respect, justice, sharing in prayer and good-will. Go in the way of Jesus… and your final destination will be in heaven.”

Hearing God’s guidance and taking it fully to heart, made Abraham the great pilgrim of faith. His journey is the classic model of meaningful living. All his days were marked by listening, with openness to divine guidance. This makes Abraham “Our Father in Faith” – along with Jesus Christ, of course. Both of them show us the pilgrim way towards Yahweh, the living God. This pilgrim spirit can mark our lives too. Far from being outdated, the effort to follow the way of Abraham and Jesus is totally meaningful. Progress along this way can bring us real peace of mind. May the Lord grant us all the grace to follow the pilgrim path to its conclusion in his eternal presence.

Críost  ag lonradh orainn

Lonraíonn claochlú Íosa solas an Athar dúinne. Mar a scríobh an aspal Pól : “An Dia a dúirt: ‘Bíodh solas ag lonradh as an dorchadas,’ is é an Dia céanna é a chuir solas ag lonradh inár gcroí-ne d’fhonn eolas na glóire diaga ar chuntanós Chríost a chur ar ár súile dúinn” (2 Cor 4:6). Sa dara léacht tá tagairt do láthaireacht lonrach Íosa Críost inár measc.

Tá Críost beo i gcroíthe na bhfíréan trína ghrásta agus tríd an Spiorad Naomh. Tá sé ag lonradh trína theagasc sna soiscéil, sna Biáide, sa Seanmóir ar an Sliabh. Tháinig sé chun beatha a thabhairt dá lucht leanúna agus don saol, agus í a thabhairt go fial. Tugann an fís sin de gclaochlú Chríost  fís dúinn, fís atá thar a bheith tábhachtach an lá atá inniu ann, agus físeanna eile nach Críostaí iad á mbrú isteach orainn. (Máirtín Mac Conmara)


  1. Seamus Ahearne says:

    God whispers to us very quietly:

    Life is not fair. The Transfiguration is a big word and a fine idea. It appeals to me in this way: I love mountains. I am not too well able to climb mountains (or even hills) anymore. But the idea ‘touches’ my soul. I think of that great climb up over the Miners’ Village in Glendalough. There is my Transfiguration. If only I could go do that again! It isn’t will power I need. It may be Paddy Power. But I don’t even drink! Poor me. It surprises me and almost upsets me that all the candidates left in the race for the Presidency (US) are ‘old men.’ I shouldn’t give in or give up. The three of us here were classified as ‘three elderly gentlemen’ recently. One of our parishioners was trying to fight for us to be left in Finglas!

    If we began Lent with the idea of Lent and Spring, being companions; The Pathway and the journey of our life is mapped out for us in the season. (And with Abram). Straight roads. Crooked roads. Byroads. Cul-de-sacs. Dirt tracks. The flowers (and buds) are waking up and calling us to life in the midst of the storms. The geese have big meetings (in the park) contemplating and deciding what they must do next and where to go. We must join the flowers and the geese and think. If Lent is a real time for people to ready for Easter. It is truthfully the time for those being received into the Church at Easter. We are only the bystanders. Lent for us, then is a time to smarten up – to put on a good show for the ones getting ready for that reception. Well then – the cheap and easy way is to give up something. The hard challenge is to find our own ‘mountain.’ My friend Mary Oliver has a book of essays called ‘Upstream.’ (I know she has died). Here is a delicate line from that book: “I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be. “ That would do as a fine mantra for the season of Lent.

    Here are a few ideas: They climb the mountain. (We climb our mountain). The characters of the past are recalled. (We recall). They come alive. (The past comes alive for us). Prayer happens. (It may do). The cloud is significant – it is the place where God is (hidden and partially revealed). God speaks. (If our hearing isn’t dull). We are asked to listen to Him. Peter wants to build a Sacred Space. A home for God. We all can. We have to. (We pitch a tent wherever.)

    The mountain for us is this: Anyplace, anywhere. Wherever. We move away from the distractions. We stop to reflect. We pray. We lift our minds and hearts to God. We breathe in God. We listen. We look to our past. We recall what we have received. Gratitude is essential. We catch the light. We see what is bright, good, gracious, beautiful. We note the scenery of the blessedness of life. We stop moaning. We bow before God. We catch the view. We open hearts and minds. It is good. We find the music of life; the food of love. We dance.

    I met a young lassie last evening. She told me on the phone that she is a foreigner. We argued with her that she is a member of our community and couldn’t be a foreigner. She is passionate about her faith. She shares (and inspires us} at the Eucharist. At the end of our work together, she launched into a speech. She couldn’t understand why the Catholics in Ireland are so quiet and won’t shout to the hilltops of God. She was aware of the recent problems in Church life but listed off all that was good in our country in places inspired by Church people. Merchants Quay. Church Street. Peter McVerry. Sr Consilio. Sr Stan. All the local Communities where people mind and care for each other. All that has been done for the sick; for the young; for the aged; for the needy. She had her mountain. She wanted the rest of us to wake up and look around. She definitely wanted to take us all mountain-climbing. She felt that the faith-community in Ireland is asleep and lost. Her God is very alive. Breathe the air. See the beauty. Drink in the God of wonder. Catch and capture the love. Celebrate friendship, family and neighbours. Indeed come to the Table of Plenty. Be transfigured.

    Seamus Ahearne osa

  2. Thara Benedicta says:

    Key message:

    The best way to climb up in life is climb up to the mountain top.


    Lets listen to the story of our Almighty Father today (who speaks to us directly both in first and Gospel readings)!!

    Once upon a time, when Adam and Eve first sinned, Almighty Father felt sad. He couldn’t take the separation from His children. Out of His love, He longed for them, to have a walk with them, to chat with them. But Almighty Father knew that they are incapable of working out their own salvation. So Almighty Father decided to descend down on earth, as His own Son and pay the price for sins of His children. But how can He be born, when they are not worshiping Him.

    Almighty Father chalked out a plan – To create a human race, which does not have any God but worships Him alone, so that He could be born in them.

    Today’s first reading opens up God’s marvelous plan for redeeming the human race. God called out Abraham away from his family and created a human race from him set apart for God.

    The fulfillment of the plan was announced by Almighty God Himself in today’s Gospel reading – ‘He is my beloved Son’. Almighty Father signs off , but continues to take care of us through innumerable other stories..

    Another aspect of today’s Gospel is ‘Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain top’.

    We see many times in the Bible that God speaks to people in the Mountain top (Today’s Gospel is also an example).
    Mountain top experience is experiencing the presence of God. We see those who go to the mountain top, come back with joyful thrill, blessings and preparation on how to walk further in life. Jesus got clarity on how to proceed with His crucifixion and death, Moses got Ten Commandments, Abraham got His son back with bountiful blessings. Each one got their hearts desire.

    Mountain top experience sets our heart with fire on God. It teaches us the right way to live. Better than going to persons for help, it’s wise to climb to our Mountain Top for help. God is always waiting there !!

    Ways to reach mountain top:

    1. The best time to reach mountain top in our daily regular life is during the Morning Prayer time.

    2. First and foremost, the thirst to pray is required. When you understand that you lack the thirst for prayer, you need to develop the thirst within. Through the day, amidst your regular routines, push your thoughts on the need to pray. Make a resolution that the next day morning you will spend your prayer time completely with God. This will be the most profitable thought for your day.

    3. Take care that you finish your daily chores and go to bed early. A good sleep will refresh your mind and you will be able to fully involve and pray to God.

    4. Early morning prayer should be personal prayer, where nothing else crosses your mind other than God. Choose the most feasible early morning time when you will have no disturbance from other members of your house. If you feel there’s no time like that, then wake up before everyone, may be 3 am. Pray between 3 – 4 am and sleep again.

    5. One hour of morning prayer time is essential for a lay person. You can start just with 10 mins of prayer time and increase it incrementally depending on Holy Spirit’s intervention or your concentration.

    6. When you sit for prayer, call for the presence of God. With your whole heart experience and say “How great is this place God, for You are here”. See your God in front of you, smiling at you. God who has been eagerly waiting for you will be very happy at this moment. Start praising Him with all your heart, soul, mind and body; allowing no other thought to enter your mind. Think and cherish all the incidents, blessings which touched your heart deeply. You will be able to thank more intensely for the incidents that touched your heart than other blessings. Keep praising Him with your whole heart, recalling all the good He has done for you.

    7. Then thank God the Father for creating you. Thank Lord Jesus for He being omnipotent has come down to earth just like you for doing penance for your sins. Remember that God wants to dwell in you as the third person of the trinity, Holy Spirit. Welcome Him into your heart, your home. Plead Him to guide you through this prayer time.

    8. Next part of the prayer will be Bible reading. (New Testament is preferred for morning prayer than complete Bible. Read the Bible sequentially every day.) Read the Bible till you find any verse telling something just for you. Stop reading at that point and meditate on the verse. Identify your faults, if the verse points at your faults. Resolve not to commit those faults on that day alone. Ensure that the number of successes in overcoming those faults on that particular day is more than number of failures of that day. Then take the same pledge the next day also till it becomes a habit for you. Thus done you will gain appreciation from God.

    9. Pray for the world around you. Pray for you, your family, friends, society, country, other nations of the world and so on… You can bring the prayer points from the previous day news in TV/newspaper (like earthquake/war/natural calamities/tragedies/sickness) and plead for God’s intervention. Your ardent prayer on knees will change the course of the world.

    10. Finally thank God for blessing you throughout this prayer and humbly plead Him to send His Holy Spirit on you through the day.

    11. Through this prayer time your thoughts may get disturbed on other things. Please do not give up thinking that you will not be able to concentrate. Keep bringing back your thoughts and channelize it only on God sitting exactly in front of you. Say to God “This talk time is only for You. Please do not allow anyone else to snatch it”.

    Lets climb the mountain of God and experience the mountain top soon !!

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