2nd Sunday of Lent
03/08/2009
Readings
Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Romans 8:31b-34
Mark 9:2-10

Today’s readings proclaim to us the profound truth of the sonship of Jesus. While he is also a teacher, a prophet, and the Christ, these titles reflect what he does for mankind; the word Son tells us who he is. He has been Son from the foundation of the world, and will be Son for all eternity: his sonship is his fundamental identity within the Blessed Trinity.

The account of the sacrifice of Isaac, found in today’s Old Testament reading, has many meanings, but a primary insight of this text is the deep bond between a father and his son. God asks Abraham to offer what is most precious to him – his son – to demonstrate his fidelity to the Almighty. For any father, but especially for a father like Abraham who had Isaac in his old age, nothing could be a greater sacrifice. Yet this is the test which God uses to determine Abraham’s faithfulness. In the end, of course, Abraham does not have to give up his son to death. But this event becomes for Israel the ultimate example of the supreme sacrifice. Abraham passed the ultimate test. What then is Israel willing to give up to serve God?

Paul alludes to this event in Romans when he writes, “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Romans 8:32). God has not spared His beloved Son from death, but instead willingly gave him up for us. Is there really anything He won’t do to save us and restore us to Him? Is there anything He has not already done to do so?

The transfiguration account in today’s Gospel demonstrates two powerful realities of Christ’s sonship. The first is that Jesus is the beloved Son of God. From before time, he is the Son of the Father, “eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God” as the Creed tells us. This is who the Father allows to be sacrificed for our sins against Him. Instead of abandoning us to our own sins, he instead gives over His Son to suffering and death to redeem us.

Secondly, the transfiguration shows us what we will gain from this sacrifice. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we too will one day be transfigured into glory. We will become the adopted sons of God the Father, eternally united to Him. Because of God’s gracious actions, we can say with St. Paul that “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
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