Mar 11, 2017

Second Week of Lent

One of the great attributes we cherish as individuals, as a community and even as a nation, is we are goal orientated. We have priorities we want to meet, obligations we want to ensure we fulfill and goals we would like to see accomplished. It might be as simple as graduating from high school or college, getting married and beginning a family, securing a job, paying off a debt or looking forward to retirement. For others, the goal of recovering from an illness, making sure the children are looked after, or even just losing a few pounds and staying healthy is a noble goal to aim towards.  

However, we can often get frustrated or tempted to despair when we encounter letdowns, obstacles or when that place we are trying to reach in life, like an ever moving rainbow, keeps slipping away from us - we sometimes are frustrated that goals are sometimes unreachable. It can seem at times daunting, even exhausting!

Whereas we have built freeways and roads that shot straight through hills and mountains in an attempt to avoid reaching our destination without delay, for Our Lord and His disciples of His day, hills and mountains were not obstacles. They were landmarks to guide one's journey. I can identify at least four of special significance in the New Testament.

At the every outset of His ministry, when the parishioners of His hometown Nazareth, with rage and anger dragged Our Blessed Lord up a hill to throw him to the dogs, He simply stepped to the side, changed direction and moved on. He would not allow Himself to pushed off the edge. He walk calmly down and continued His journey.

In today's Gospel we find Him on the top of Mount Tabor. From there 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 get on their feet! We have still miles ahead of us to go.

Soon, He would allow Himself to be taken to the top of the hill of Calvary, to be brutally crucified to death, while those who consented, badmouthed and ridiculed Him. He took all their anger upon Himself, and redirected it to His heavenly Father asking Him to forgive them.

And after His resurrection from the dead, He would climb the Mount of Olives and wait for His disciples to join him there. From its summit, Our Lord would step into the realm of heaven where He now presently continues to offer Himself to His Father on all of our behalf. The disciples who were frozen in astonishment, were admonished by angels to stop gawking into the sky, but get themselves back down to work, God's work!

We have a tendency to pick our own hilltop to build a fortress to hide in. At times we target a hill or mountain for demolition because it's too much in the way.

Instead Lent turns these particular "points" in life into stepping stones, allowing us to accompany Christ along the way. With Him we pass over the the hill of discontent (Nazareth), the hill of beauty beyond imagination (Mount Tabor), the hill of bloodshed and violence (Calvary), to the hill overlooking the city where the doorway to heaven can be found (Mount of Olives).

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.

The message Christ seems to be sharing with us in only our second week of Lent, there are four more weeks to Easter) is to keep on moving, keep going forward, don't become complacent, or even disappointed even if our goals seem to be jumping around like that uncatchable rainbow we see everyone else passing through, but can't seem to do so ourselves!

Remember, the mountains or hills we come to in our lives are not necessarily obstacles to life or lookout posts to safely observe the world from. They are only one in a series of stepping stones that beckon us to keep moving towards the goal of entering through the gates of heaven. During this second week of Lent, even though we may have begun with all earnestness and resolve, pace yourselves. Don't get out of breath. Instead, save your last breath for that most holy day and hour when it can be offered to our heavenly Father in thanksgiving for allowing Christ to journey every step of the way with you.

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

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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