March 12, 2017 Second Sunday in Lent Deacon Steve Whiteman

Second Sunday of Lent
March  12, 2017

Reading 1GN 12:1-4A

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22.

  1. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Reading 22 TM 1:8B-10

Verse Before The GospelCF. MT 17:5

Gospel MT 17:1-9

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11/12 Mar Jan 2017                                                                                                         Carpe diem (Seize the day)                                                       

Second Sunday of Lent
In our readings this weekend, we hear about some incredible life changing experiences: Abram in Genesis and the disciples Peter, James and John in the Gospel.

Abram is called by God to leave his father’s land and move his family to an unknown place. God tells him he will be blessed and father a great nation.

If you put yourself in Abram’s shoes this would have been a real leap of faith. At that time, Abram was 75 years old. His wife’s original name was Sarai (Sir-aa). She was 65 yrs old and up to then, not able to bear children. The idea of moving to an unknown place and starting a family at that point in their lives must have overwhelming.

As it turned out Abram and Sarai (Sir-aa) took that leap of faith and followed God’s command. God made a covenant with them and gave them new names: Abraham and Sarah. They became the parents of Isaac and the entire nation of Israel.

In the Gospel, Peter, James and John witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus. He is transformed in front of their eyes and His heavenly glory is revealed. Moses and Elijah appear and the voice of God the Father endorses the mission of Jesus: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him."

Peter, James and John were overwhelmed with fear, but reassured by the words of Jesus: “Rise, and do not be afraid”.

In the stories of Abraham and Sarah and the experiences of Peter, James and John, the plans and power of God are overwhelming. None of them could have imagined how their lives would be transformed but God had prepared them for these experiences. They were given the faith they needed, exactly when they needed it to fulfill God’s plan for their lives

Although we may not have these kinds life changing experiences, we should try to live each day with a purpose. That purpose is to cooperate with the plan God has for our lives. As Matthew Kelly describes it: becoming the best version of yourself.

Before we talk about God’s plan for our lives, I want to point out some observations from the readings today:        Abraham and Sarah were senior citizens when God gave them this great commission. They may not have realized it, but God had an important plan for their lives. We are never too old to start a new direction in our faith journey that leads to God.

Peter, James and John had an incredible mountain top experience. Their faith in Jesus was strengthened and they were filled with the Grace they needed to follow Him. They may have been tempted to stay on the mountain in Heavenly glory but the plan God had for them, and for us, usually happens in everyday life. If we have a mountaintop experience at a retreat or in a spiritual encounter it’s a wonderful gift. This gift is given to us to provide strength for daily ministry as we go back down the mountain to everyday life. 

 Peter, James and John were only 3 of 12 Apostles. The other 75% of the group did not experience the Transfiguration first hand but all went on to serve God in their own wonderful way. Not everyone’s faith journey is the same. We all hope to end up in the same place but we may all take different paths to get there.

One of the conclusions we could make from all this is Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem is Latin for “Seize the day”. We need to make the most out of each day. Our day to day routine makes up the majority of our lives and is the best opportunity to serve God.

It’s tempting to keep our head down only trying to survive each day until the weekend comes but there should be more to life. If we treat each day as a gift from God we will want to make the most of it. If we only get thru our daily routine by keeping our head down, we may miss the people and opportunities God puts in our lives to serve and grow in our faith. During this season of Lent let us make an extra effort each day to look for those in need around us and help them with prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

A quote from St. Mother Teresa may be the best way to think about this: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

In 1928, St. Josemaria Escriva was a Spanish priest on a retreat in Madrid. During that retreat he received a vision about the holiness of life’s ordinary circumstances and the sanctity of daily work.

He pointed to the example of Jesus who spent 30 years living a quiet life in Nazareth working as an ordinary carpenter. St. Escriva maintained that any honest and worthwhile work can be turned into a divine occupation.

If we offer up our work and service to God each day we help sanctify the world by living the example of the Gospel.

So remember Carpe Diem…Seize the day. Remember to seize each day as an opportunity to find the people and opportunities God puts in our lives to serve and grow in our faith.