(2nd Sunday of Lent: Genesis 12:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)
There is a slight contradiction between the Psalm and our second reading. In the first we read, “See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.” Hope and reverential fear seem to be a condition for deliverance.
But then St. Paul tells us, “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design.” Here, salvation is unconditional.
We see this also in the first reading. Abram was called, and received God’s excellent promises, without having fulfilled any requirement. And in the Gospel, no reason is given why Jesus chose Peter, James and John to witness his Transfiguration.
The Lord calls whom he will, when he will, as he will. This is true for us, too. As La Salette Laity, Sisters and Missionaries, we share the free gift of Mary’s love.
As in the case of Abram, responding to the call means change, not necessarily geographical, of course, but a change of heart, open to further gifts: fear of the Lord, generosity in God’s service, willingness to bear our “share of hardship for the gospel.”
The life of faith, professing and living out the Gospel message as Catholics, has never been easy, but it seems more difficult in the modern age. It demands prayer. Prayer, in turn, requires silence, at least enough for us to be able to hear the words, “This is my beloved Son... listen to him,” spoken from a shining cloud, and silently echoed by a Beautiful Lady bearing his image on her breast.
And how can we read today’s Psalm without thinking of her? Through her tears she saw the sufferings of so many; she came “to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine,” even though they were far from fearing the Lord or hoping for his kindness.
How do we share that deliverance? There is no one answer to such a question. But when we deeply desire to live out our vocation, an answer will present itself in due time, probably accompanied by the words, “Do not be afraid.”
Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse