Feb 20, 2016

Second Sunday of Lent


For Our Blessed Lord, hills and mountains are not obstacles. They are stepping stones. I can identify at least four of special significance in the New Testament.

When the parishioners of his hometown Nazareth, with rage and anger dragged Him up a hill to throw him to the dogs, He stepped to the side and moved on. He would not allow Himself to pushed off the edge.

In today's Gospel we find Him on Mount Tabor. And from there, on top of it, something extraordinary takes place. He reveals the most beautiful glory of God shining through Him. His disciples are filled with joy and praise. But He told them afterwards, to wake up!

Soon, He would allow Himself to be taken to the top of the hill of Calvary, to be brutally crucified to death, His sacrifice of His own Body and Blood to His heavenly Father in atonement for the sins of the world, while those who consented, badmouthed and ridiculed Him. He asked His Father, to forgive them.

And after His resurrection from the dead, He would climb the Mount of Olives. And from its summit, to step into the realm of heaven where He presently continues to offer Himself to His Father on our behalf. Those who remained at the top of the hill, were admonished by angels to stop gawking into the sky, but get themselves back to work, God's work!

Even though we are tempted to separate all these events - a kind of selective memory which we are all prone - to focus only on one episode of Christ's life as the be all and end all, the disciple is always in danger of doing the same with their own lives - dwelling only on events (good or bad) we want to remember and avoiding others we sometimes try to forget. We have a tendency to pick our own hilltop to build a fortress or at times to target one for demolition.  Rather, hills and mountains, be they large or small, beautiful or treacherous, in plain sight or far off in the distance - they are for the disciple stepping stones through all the mysteries of the life of Christ to our own journey's end, heaven.

Lent provides "holy seasoning" which allows all flavors of the Christian journey to come to the surface, the helps us to appreciate the big picture without becoming isolated on or distracted by any one of those four hills or mountains I have mentioned: The hill of discontent, the hill of beauty beyond imagination, the hill of bloodshed and violence, the hill of things beyond our reach. But a word of warning! If you try to stay on just one, expect to be either left there alone, escorted away, or told to move on.

But in the meantime, be assured there are many more mountains, valleys and hills before us to explore. Remember, they are stepping stones that beckon us to keep going forward, until we are, not only out of breath, but instead ready, willing and able to offer to God the sweetness of our last and final breath.

May Mary, the Mother of all the mysteries of the rosary, be our guide along the way.

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Los mismos que estuvieron en el monte de la transfiguración estarán con el Señor cuando su rostro estuvo en el huerto de los Olivos, pero esta vez el rostro del Señor se veía «transfigurado por el dolor».

 Más tarde los Apóstoles aprenderían la lección: lo importante es acompañar siempre al Señor. Y lo difícil es hacerlo cuando hay dificultades. Por eso, para que no nos vengamos abajo en los momentos duros, a veces nuestro Dios nos regala situaciones dulces. Si se va con el Señor, da igual dónde vayamos. Porque, aunque tengamos dificultades, somos felices siemper.

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