Second Sunday in Lent [C]
Genesis 15:5-12,17-18 — Philippians 3:14—4:1 — Luke 9:28-36
February 28, 2010
Scripture readings from Holy Mass:
Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“This is my chosen Son; /
listen to him.”
At the age of seventy-five, Saint Augustine lay on his deathbed in a small town in northern Africa. This man—who had early in life lived with a mistress for fifteen years, and fathered a son out of wedlock—this man, who had not been baptized until the age of thirty-three... knew that his life on this earth was drawing to a close…
From his deathbed, Saint Augustine saw his own town collapsing. There was little to glory in. The forces of heretics and barbarians, which he had battled every year he was a bishop, had now united and were at his doorstep: a tribe of barbarians who had been converted over to heresy had traveled down through Spain, into Africa, and then along the northern shore of the continent, pillaging towns as they went.
This barbarian tribe reached St. Augustine’s town and destroyed it as well. All the work that he had done as bishop fell apart before his eyes, as he saw the monasteries he had founded destroyed, the priests he had instructed and ordained murdered, and the churches he had built and preached in overthrown, and occupied by heretics.
What do you imagine that Saint Augustine thought to himself as he lay on his deathbed and saw all this happening? What do you imagine he said in his prayer to the Lord?
Most likely, they spoke about the same thing that the Lord spoke with Moses and Elijah about in today’s Gospel reading: as Luke puts it, they spoke about… Jesus’ passage which he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem. This is the passage that the Lord will make during Holy Week, at the end of Lent. In fact, the goal of Lent is to make this passage our own.
X X X
Most of the people who spent time with Jesus during the three years of His public ministry never figured out what Jesus meant to say through His preaching. Many of these disciples had completely different ideas of what Jesus was trying to accomplish on this earth. They all knew He was someone important, and powerful. They all knew, to use a modern phrase, that He was someone who was… “headed places”. But what those places were… they didn’t agree about.
When Jesus suffered and died on the Cross, most of His disciples took the Cross as a sign of Jesus’ failure. He was a failure as a preacher, a failure as a religious organizer, and—frankly—He was a failure as a human being.
In the light of this, ask yourself: what is it that actually makes a human life either a success, or a failure?
As it turned out, Jesus ended up a failure in the eyes of both these disciples and the Jewish officials. No one, it seemed, could look at the Cross and see Jesus as a success in life.
X X X
And so, my questions to you on this Second Sunday in Lent are: do you bear a cross in life? Is this cross one that you bear because you are a Christian? In other words, if you were not a follower of Jesus, would you be free to put down this cross? Are you tempted to lay down your cross, and walk on another path through life?
If so, Jesus calls you not to measure your life in earthly terms. Recognize that there is, in fact, only one Cross. You are not in fact, a follower of Jesus: rather, you live as a Christian within Jesus. You live as within Him as a member of His Mystical Body. And any cross that you bear because of Him, is a share in Jesus’ Cross, the one true Cross: the Cross of Truth.
Do not measure your life as successful in measures of wealth, power and pleasure. Measure the success of your life only according to the willingness—that is to say, the love—with which you bear the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Do I sometime imagine that I am carrying my cross alone? How can I deepen my understanding that my cross is a share in the One True Cross?
Intentions that you are asked to pray for:
· a special intention by V.
· a special intention of Father Hoisington
You are invited to submit your own petitions to Father Hoisington by means of the Reflections Facebook group, his Facebook page, or to his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may either give a brief description of your intention, or simply list “a special intention”, after which your first initial would be listed. These intentions will be prayed for until Easter, unless you indicate a specific date for prayers to end for your intention.