Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Second Sunday of Lent—8 March A.D. 2020

Ave Maria!


Ordinary of the Mass
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Lenten Observance


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    If the Gospel reading today seems familiar it is probably because the Church thinks it important enough to have us read it three times during the liturgical year--Ember Saturday, First Sunday of Lent, and the feast of the Transfiguration.  It would seem to be important for three different reasons. 

    The Transfiguration took place  shortly before our Lord was delivered up to be crucified and seeing Him in His splendor served to reassure the Apostles that the Crucifixion was not going to end the protection of Jesus' Church on Earth.  Imagine how frightening Jesus' death would have seemed to the Apostles.  During their three years with Him, He always was the supreme authority figure among authorities.  He always had the right answer for His opponents and detractors.  The Romans, the Scribes, and the Pharisees all sought to trap Him, but they all failed.  Even after His Ascension into Heaven, one would have expected the Apostles to feel lost without Him.

    But in the Transfiguration the Apostles were able to know that Jesus would not leave His Church truly on Its own.  He was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, as represented by Moses and Elias.  And He was, after all,  the beloved "Son in Whom" God the Father was "well pleased." With this Divine protection, Jesus would somehow persist in His mission. Even if the Apostles didn't understand how, it was altogether clear that Jesus enjoyed the plenitude of Divine favor.

    There was even a hope that in Heaven they might share some of the glory they had witnessed.  Quite likely they had experienced the glory of Christ's human nature and not His Divine nature for, as the Old Testament tells us, “No one sees God and lives.”[1] Even Moses, who is mentioned in this Gospel, who had to veil his face when he came down from the mountain, because it was blinding to the Israelites, had never actually seen God's face, but had only spoken with Him.[2]  It helped the Apostles to endure persecution because of the hope of someday having a Christ-like radiance.

    The same Gospel was read yesterday at the Ember Saturday Mass.  In Catholic cathedrals the Ember Saturdays of the year are often ordination days for new priests—priests who would sing or say their first Mass on Sunday.  So in the case of this second Sunday of Lent, the priests offering their first Masses have the importance of our Lord's Transfiguration doubly imprinted on their minds.  They have the assurance that, no matter what demands the coming forty, fifty, or sixty year of priesthood might place upon them, they would always carry the burden together with Jesus Christ, the eternal High Priest.

    Finally, the Church presents this Gospel today, together with an Epistle that called for a transfiguration of all of us Catholics.  As Saint Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “God has called us from uncleanness to sanctification in Christ Jesus.”[3] Sinful men and women must be transfigured in accord with the sinless example of Jesus Christ.  That means all of us!!

    In summary, first of all, we acknowledge today that the Catholic Church will always enjoy the protection of the Son of God.  No matter how disappointing the modern bishops, cardinals, (and even popes) may be, they cannot harm the salvation of men and women who faithfully carry out the teachings of Jesus Christ.   The Church is 2,000 years old, the Mosaic Law came 1,500 years before the Church, and the Natural Law is eternal—nothing invented in the past hundred years or so can begin to replace them.  Nonetheless, we must pray for the conversion of all those who seek to subvert Holy Mother Church—for the conversion of those who do bad—God desires the salvation of all, and the penalties of Hell are beyond human imagination—and pray for those who do good, for we need many more of them

    Secondly, let us make a habit of praying for vocations to the priesthood—and for monks and nuns, brothers and sisters—for more good people in the religious life, whose numbers all have been rapidly decreasing since Vatican II.

And finally, let us make a habit of praying for ourselves.  Through Saint Paul, we are called to a personal “transfiguration.”  We know how we “ought to walk” in order to please God.  Walking the walk and talking the talk can be difficult, but prayer can make it less difficult.  The God‑man Who was transfigured on Mount Thabor can be fully expected to aid us in our own transfiguration “unto sanctification; in Christ Jesus our Lord.”



[1]   Exodus xxxiii:20

[2]   Exodus  xxxiii: 23

[3]    I Thessalonians IV: 1-7




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