Shikrot Mpwi – Sunday Synopsis with Fr. Justine J. Dyikuk
Second Sunday of Lent, Year, A – March 5, 2023
Readings: Gen 12:1-4A; Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:4-5, 18-10, 20, 20, 22;
2nd Tm 1:8B-10; Gospel Mt 17:1-9.
Theme: Arise, Do Not Be Afraid!
Today’s first reading (Gen 12:1-4A) reveals how Abram responded to the call of God by overcoming fear to travel to an unknown country. In the second reading (2nd Tm 1:8B-10), St. Paul urged Timothy his son in the faith to bear with hardships for the sake of Christ. The gospel reveals how the apostles Peter, James and John fell on their faces overcome with fear at the transfiguration experience. Amidst moral and political corruption and oppression of the people’s mandate, Jesus assures: “Arise, do not be afraid.”
Beloved in Christ, as a people, we are living in precarious times in Nigeria. Amid winners and losers of the national assembly elections and the political brigandage associated with the presidential polls, our readings present a soothing balm for the oppressed.
Background and Summary of the Readings
The first reading (Gen 12:1-4A) reveals the call of Abram/Abraham. It discloses that Abram was not afraid of following God’s instruction to leave his father’s house to an unknown destination. By courageously taking a leap of faith, he was not afraid of losing his father’s heritage. He believed that God had a better offer for him. God promised to make of him a great nation even as he blesses and makes him famous. The Lord also assured: “I will bless those who bless you…curse those who slight you” while surmising: “All the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves in you.”
In the second reading (2nd Tm 1:8B-10), St. Paul urged Timothy his son in the faith to bear with hardships for the sake of Christ. He called on him to rely on the power of God who saved us and called us to be holy for his own purpose and by his grace. Paul maintained that it was the appearing of Jesus that abolished death and proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News.
The gospel (Mt 17:1-9) tells the story of the transfiguration of Jesus at mount tabor. It relates how Jesus took his close allies, Peter, James and John to the mountain of transfiguration. It reveals how his face was transfigured in their presence and his clothes became dazzlingly white. Just then, we are told, Moses who represented the law and Elijah, the prophets appeared and were speaking to him. At that, Peter asked Jesus if they could build three tents – one for him, another for Moses and a third for Elijah. The gospel further discloses that as they were still talking, a great cloud covered them with a shadow and a voice was heard: “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.” At that, the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. Jesus then touched them saying: “Arise, do not be afraid.” When they raised their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were going down the mountain, he warned them to tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.
1. Take a Leap of Faith: In society where many young people are caught up in the web of astrology, horoscope or zodiac signs to know their fate, we are challenged to imitate Abram who undertook the risk to go to an unknown destination by taking a leap of faith trusting that the will of God will not take us where his grace cannot sustain us.
2. Dispel Fear: By telling the three apostles, “Arise, do not be afraid,” Jesus invites us to the mountain of faith where we would be emboldened to overcome every kind of fear and face life issues headlong.
3. Have a Divine Encounter: Like the apostles Peter, James and John, Jesus calls us to leave our comfort zone of sin and complacency for a divine encounter with him.
4. Trust God: Rather than trusting in our wimps and caprices, we are urged to emulate the apostles who trusted in the Lord by following Jesus to the mountain.
5. Climb the Mountain: The Church is that mountain where the Lord intends to meet with us and where we shall experience that epiphany through the seven sacraments which will change our worldview towards becoming better Christians and challenging moral and political corruption such what we are curently experiencing in Nigeria.
1. The first reading reveals the call of Abram.
2. In the second reading, St. Paul urged Timothy his son in the faith to bear with hardships for the sake of Christ.
3. Paul maintained that it was the appearing of Jesus that abolished death and proclaimed life.
4. The gospel tells the story of the transfiguration of Jesus at mount tabor.
5. Moses who represented the law and Elijah, the prophets appeared and were speaking to him.
In conclusion, Amidst moral and political corruption and oppression of the people’s mandate, Jesus assures: “Arise, do not be afraid.”
Paul’s message that the appearing Jesus would abolish death and proclaim life through the Good News is quite consoling. The appearance of Moses who represented the law and Elijah, the prophets urges us to build three tents by declaring our mind, soul and body for the worship of God.
As heirs of the kingdom who struggle daily to listen to God in scriptures, prayer, through our priests and nieghbours, may God say to us at the end of time: “These are my children, the Beloved; they enjoy my favour.” Have a terrific Lenten Season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving!
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