2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A, 8 March 2020
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Liturgical Colour: Violet.
Mass Readings from ETWN.
See our Mass Readings extracts with pictures in Encouragements-381. 8-)
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4,
Responsorial: Psalm 33:4-5,18-20,22,
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8-10 &
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Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
See our compilation with Picture in Encouragements-382. 8-)
1. The season of Lent, in addition to prayer, penance and fasting, invites us to intensify those acts of concrete charity which biblical language often describes by the term "almsgiving".
In this regard, Jesus warns us about the risk of wanting to be admired: charity is not genuine if it seeks human praise (cf. Matthew 6:2-3). On the other hand, he urges his disciples: "Let them see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). Our actions are "beautiful" when they reflect the light of God, so it is therefore right that the merit and praise for this light go to him.
2. In this last year of preparation for the Great Jubilee, in which we turn our gaze to God the Father, it is important to highlight "the greatest" (1 Corinthians 13:13) of Christian virtues, that is, charity, recalling the significant and lapidary words of the First Letter of John: "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16). Charity, in its twofold aspect as love of God and neighbour, is the summing up of the believer's spiritual and moral life, and finds in God its source and summit (cf. Tertio millennio adveniente, n. 50).
I wrote in the Message for Lent that "the experience of the Father's love urges Christians to give of themselves to others, obeying a logic of service and solidarity in openness to their brothers and sisters". Then, recalling that "the arenas in which the Church through the centuries has borne witness to God's love in her word and action are vast", I added that "today we see immense areas in which the work of Christians must bring to bear the charity of God. New forms of poverty and the pressing questions which trouble many hearts await a concrete and appropriate response. Those who are lonely, those on the margins of society, the hungry, the victims of violence, those who have no hope must be able to experience, in the Church's loving care, the tenderness of the heavenly Father who, from the very beginning of the world, has kept every individual in mind in order to fill each one with his blessings" (n. 3).
3. Dear friends, let us pray to the Virgin Mary that during Lent she will help all disciples of Christ to put charity at the centre of their lives, and to question themselves about this in their daily examination of conscience. When they are tempted to turn in on themselves, the commitment to help others without expecting anything in return is a valuable way of experiencing God's love in one's own life.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 28 February 1999)
See our compilation with Picture in Encouragements-382. 8-)
1. Today, the second Sunday of Lent, the Church offers us again the Gospel account of the transfiguration of Christ. Before facing the passion and cross, Jesus went "up a high mountain" (Matthew 17:1), commonly identified as Tabor, together with the apostles Peter, James and John. He "was transfigured" before them: His face and whole person shone with light.
Today's liturgy invites us to follow the Master onto Tabor, to the mountain of silence and contemplation. It is the grace that, together with my collaborators in the Roman Curia, I have had this week in our spiritual retreat, an experience I recommend to all, even in the ways it needs to be adapted to the different vocations and conditions of life. It is important, especially in the Lenten season, that Christian communities become authentic schools of prayer (cf. Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 33) in which we allow ourselves to be "conquered" by the mystery of God's light and love (cf. Philippians 3:12).
2. On Tabor we understand better that the life of the cross and glory are inseparable. In accepting the Father's plan to the end, in which it was written that he would have to suffer in order to enter into his glory (cf. Luke 24:26), Christ experiences, in anticipation, the light of the resurrection.
In carrying the cross every day with faith full of love, we also experience, together with its weight and harshness, the force of renewal and of consolation. With Jesus, we receive this interior light especially in prayer.
Life changes when the heart has been "conquered" by Christ. The most generous and lasting choices are the fruit of a deep and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence.
3. We ask Our Lady of Silence, who knew how to preserve the light of faith even in the darkest hours, for the grace of a Lent that comes alive with prayer. May Mary enlighten our hearts and help us to follow faithfully in every circumstance God's plan.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 24 February 2002)
See our compilation with Picture in Encouragements-382. 8-)
See our compilation with Picture in Encouragements-383. 8-)
See our compilation with Picture in Encouragements-383. 8-)
I thank the Lord who has granted me over the past few days the experience of the Spiritual Exercises and I am also grateful to all who have been close to me in prayer. This Sunday, the Second Sunday of Lent, is called “of the Transfiguration” because the Gospel recounts this mystery of Jesus’ life. After Jesus had foretold his Passion to the disciples, “he took with him Peter, James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light” (Matthew 17:1-2). According to the senses the light of the sun is the brightest light known in nature but, according to the spirit, the disciples briefly glimpsed an even more intense splendour, that of the divine glory of Jesus which illumines the whole history of salvation. St Maximus Confessor says that “[the Lord’s] garments appear white, that is to say, the words of the Gospel will then be clear and distinct, with nothing concealed” (Ambiguum 10: PG 91, 1128 B).
The Gospel tells that beside the transfigured Jesus “there appeared... Moses and Elijah, talking with him” (Matthew 17:3); Moses and Elijah, figure of the Law and of the Prophets. It was then that Peter, ecstatic, exclaimed “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4). However St Augustine commented, saying that we have only one dwelling place, Christ: “he is the Word of God, the Word of God in the Law, the Word of God in the Prophets” (Sermo De Verbis Ev. 78:3: PL 38, 491).
In fact, the Father himself proclaims: “this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). The Transfiguration is not a change in Jesus but the revelation of his divinity: “the profound interpenetration of his being with God, which then becomes pure light. In his oneness with the Father, Jesus is himself ‘light from light’” (Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, Doubleday, New York, 2007, p. 310).
Peter, James and John, contemplating the divinity of the Lord, are ready to face the scandal of the Cross, as it is sung in an ancient hymn: “You were transfigured on the mountain and your disciples, insofar as they were able, contemplated your glory, in order that, on seeing you crucified, they would understand that your Passion was voluntary and proclaim to the world that you are truly the splendour of the Father” (Κοντάκιον είς τήν Μεταμόρφωσιν, in: Μηναια, t. 6, Rome 1901, 341).
Dear friends, let us too share in this vision and in this supernatural gift, making room for prayer, and for listening to the Word of God. Further, especially in this Season of Lent, I urge you, as the Servant of God Paul VI wrote, “to respond to the divine precept of penitence by some voluntary act, apart from the renunciation imposed by the burdens of everyday life” (Apostolic Constitution Pænitemini, 17 February 1966, III, c: AAS 58 , 182).
Let us invoke the Virgin Mary so that she may help us always to listen to and follow the Lord Jesus, even to the Passion and the Cross, in order to also participate in his glory.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 20 March 2011)
See our compilation with Picture in Encouragements-384. 8-)
Today the Gospel presents the Transfiguration. It is the second stage of the Lenten journey: the first was the temptation in the desert, last Sunday; the second, the Transfiguration. Jesus “took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart” (Matthew 17:1). The mountain in the Bible represents a place close to God and an intimate encounter with Him, a place of prayer where one stands in the presence of the Lord. There up on the mount, Jesus is revealed to the three disciples as transfigured, luminescent and most beautiful. And then Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Him. His face is so resplendent and his robes so white that Peter, awe-struck, wishes to stay there, as if to stop time. Suddenly from on high the voice of the Father resounds proclaiming Jesus to be his most beloved Son, saying “listen to him” (v. 5). This word is important! Our Father said this to these Apostles, and says it to us as well: “listen to Jesus, because he is my beloved Son”. This week let us keep this word in our minds and in our hearts: “listen to Jesus!”. And the Pope is not saying this, God the Father says it to everyone: to me, to you, to everyone, all people! It is like an aid for going forward on the path of Lent. “Listen to Jesus!”. Don’t forget.
This invitation from the Father is very important. We, the disciples of Jesus, are called to be people who listen to his voice and take his words seriously. To listen to Jesus, we must be close to him, to follow him, like the crowd in the Gospel who chase him through the streets of Palestine. Jesus did not have a teaching post or a fixed pulpit, he was an itinerant teacher, who proposed his teachings, teachings given to him by the Father, along the streets, covering distances that were not always predictable or easy. Follow Jesus in order to listen to him. But also let us listen to Jesus in his written Word, in the Gospel. I pose a question to you: do you read a passage of the Gospel everyday? Yes, no… yes, no… half of the time … some yes, some no. It is important! Do you read the Gospel? It is so good; it is a good thing to have a small book of the Gospel, a little one, and to carry in our pocket or in our purse and read a little passage in whatever moment presents itself during the day. In any given moment of the day I take the Gospel from my pocket and I read something, a short passage. Jesus is there and he speaks to us in the Gospel! Ponder this. It’s not difficult, nor is it necessary to have all four books: one of the Gospels, a small one, with us. Let the Gospel be with us always, because it is the Word of Jesus in order for us to be able to listen to him.
From the event of the Transfiguration I would like to take two significant elements that can be summed up in two words: ascent and descent. We all need to go apart, to ascend the mountain in a space of silence, to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord. This we do in prayer. But we cannot stay there! Encounter with God in prayer inspires us anew to “descend the mountain” and return to the plain where we meet many brothers weighed down by fatigue, sickness, injustice, ignorance, poverty both material and spiritual. To these brothers in difficulty, we are called to bear the fruit of that experience with God, by sharing the grace we have received. And this is curious. When we hear the Word of Jesus, when we listen to the Word of Jesus and carry it in our heart, this Word grows. Do you know how it grows? By giving it to the other! The Word of Christ grows in us when we proclaim it, when we give it to others! And this is what Christian life is. It is a mission for the whole Church, for all the baptized, for us all: listen to Jesus and offer him to others. Do not forget: this week listen to Jesus! And think about the matter of the Gospel: will you? Will you do this? Then next Sunday you tell me if you have done this: that you have a little book of the Gospel in your pocket or in your purse to read in little stages throughout the day.
And now let us turn to our Mother Mary, and entrust ourselves to her guidance in pursuing with faith and generosity this path of Lent, learning a little more how to “ascend” with prayer and listen to Jesus and to “descend” with brotherly love, proclaiming Jesus.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 16 March 2014)
In this Gospel passage (cf. Matthew 17:1-9), reference is made twice to the beauty of Jesus, of Jesus-God, of luminous Jesus, of Jesus full of joy and life. First, in the vision: “And he was transfigured”. He was transfigured before them, his disciples: “his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light”. And Jesus is transformed; he is transfigured. The second time, as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to speak of this vision before He had Risen from the dead, meaning the Resurrection Jesus was to have — did have, but at that moment he had not yet risen — the same bright, shining face will be like this! But what did he mean? That between this Transfiguration so beautiful, and that Resurrection, there will be another face of Jesus: there will be a face not so beautiful, disfigured, tortured, despised, bloodied by the crown of thorns.... Jesus’ whole body will be just as something to be discarded. Two Transfigurations, and between them Jesus Crucified, the Cross. We must really look at the Cross! It is Jesus-God — “this is my Son”, “this is my beloved Son!” — Jesus, Son of God, God himself, with whom the Father is well pleased: He is completely destroyed in order to save us! To use too strong a word, too strong, perhaps one of the strongest words of the New Testament, a word which Paul uses: He made him to be sin (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21). Sin is the most terrible thing; sin is an offense to God, a slap in the face to God, it is saying to God: “You do not matter to me; I prefer this...”. So Jesus became sin, he annihilated himself, he debased himself to that point.... And in order to prepare the disciples not to be scandalized to see him like this, on the cross, he appeared Transfigured.
We are accustomed to speaking about sins: when we confess “I did this sin; I did that sin...”; and also in Confession, when we are forgiven, we feel that we are forgiven because He took this sin upon himself in the Passion: He became sin. We are used to speaking about the sins of others. It is a bad thing.... Instead of speaking about others’ sins, I am not saying to make ourselves sin, because we cannot, but to look at our own sins and at the One who became sin.
This is the journey toward Easter, toward the Resurrection: with the certainty of this Transfiguration, to go forward; to see this face so bright, so beautiful, which will be the same one in the Resurrection and the same that we will find in Heaven, and also to see this other face, which is made sin, which paid in this way, for all of us. Jesus is made sin, he becomes the curse of God, for us: the blessed Son, in the Passion, became the accursed because he took our sins upon himself (cf. Galatians 3:10-14). Let us think about this. How much love! What love! And let us also think about the beauty of the transfigured face of Jesus that we will meet in Heaven.
May this contemplation of the two faces of Jesus — the one transfigured and the one made to be sin, made a curse — encourage us to go forward on the journey of life, on the journey of Christian life. May it encourage us to ask forgiveness for our sins, not to sin so much.... May it encourage us above all to have faith, because if He was made to be sin it is because He took ours upon himself. And He is always willing to forgive us. We need only to ask for it.
Pope Francis I (Homily, 12 March 2017)
The Gospel of this second Sunday of Lent presents the narrative of the Transfiguration of Jesus. (cf. Matthew 17:1-9). Taking aside three of the Apostles, Peter, James and John, He led them up a high mountain. And that is where this unique phenomenon took place: Jesus’ face “shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light” (v. 2). In this way, the Lord allowed the divine glory which could be understood through faith in his preaching and his miraculous gestures, to shine within Him. The Transfiguration was accompanied by the apparition of Moses and Elijah who were “talking with him” (v. 3).
The ‘brightness’ which characterises this extraordinary event symbolises its purpose: to enlighten the minds and hearts of the disciples so that they may clearly understand who their Teacher is. It is a flash of light which suddenly opens onto the mystery of Jesus and illuminates his whole person and his whole story.
By now decisively headed toward Jerusalem, where he will be sentenced to death by crucifixion, Jesus wanted to prepare his own for this scandal — the scandal of the Cross — this scandal which is too intense for their faith and, at the same time, to foretell his Resurrection by manifesting himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus was preparing them for that sad and very painful moment. In fact, Jesus was already revealing himself as a Messiah different from their expectations, from how they imagined the Messiah, how the Messiah would be: not a powerful and glorious king, but a humble and unarmed servant; not a lord of great wealth, a sign of blessing, but a poor man with nowhere to rest his head; not a patriarch with many descendants, but a celibate man without home or nest. It is truly an overturned revelation of God, and the most bewildering sign of this scandalous overturning, is the cross. But it is through the Cross that Jesus will reach the glorious Resurrection, which will be definitive, not like this Transfiguration which lasted a moment, an instant.
Transfigured on Mount Tabor, Jesus wanted to show his disciples his glory, not for them to circumvent the Cross, but to show where the Cross leads. Those who die with Jesus, shall rise again with Jesus. The Cross is the door to Resurrection. Whoever struggles alongside him will triumph with him. This is the message of hope contained in Jesus’ Cross, urging us to be strong in our existence. The Christian Cross is not the furnishings of a house or adornments to wear but rather, the Christian Cross is a call to the love with which Jesus sacrificed himself to save humanity from evil and sin. In this Lenten season, we contemplate with devotion the image of the Crucifix, Jesus on the Cross: this is the symbol of Christian Faith, the emblem of Jesus, who died and rose for us. Let us ensure that the Cross marks the stages of our Lenten journey in order to understand ever better the seriousness of sin and the value of the sacrifice by which the Saviour has saved us all.
The Blessed Virgin was able to contemplate the glory of Jesus hidden in his humanness. May she help us stay with Him in silent prayer, to allow ourselves to be enlightened by his presence, so as to bring a reflection of his glory to our hearts through the darkest nights.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 12 March 2017)
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Compiled on 29 February 2020, 16:45 SGT