THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Second Sunday in Lent
25 February 2018
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At the end of the Gospel for today we receive a direction directly from God the Father. "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear Him." But, what is it the Son of God is saying to us? He spoke to Moses and Elias of His Passion and Death. His Passion and Death were an incomprehensible mystery to Peter and the other Apostles. It is suggested that is why Peter was given the grace of being present to experience the Transfiguration.
The message of Jesus is not only His sacrificial Suffering and Death, but also that we must follow Him. We are to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily and follow Him. In preparation for His Passion, Jesus instructed the Apostles who were with Him to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation. Peter was scandalized and faltered, but recovered quickly from the willing sacrifice that Jesus made. When it came time for St. Peter to follow Him in sacrifice and death, we find him courageous and unafraid.
When the Father in Heaven tells us to hear Jesus, we must understand the necessity for us to pray for perseverance in the trials and tribulations of this life. We should be seeking the grace to bear the difficulties of this life and even the death that God has destined for us. Too often, with worldly-mindedness, we seek the comforts of this life and to make this world and life our eternal home. St. Peter wished to make three tents and to remain on the mountain, rather than go to Jerusalem where Jesus was to be crucified. His desire for the peace of eternity is commendable, but his desire to bypass the cross is against the Will of God.
The Sacrifice of Jesus has begun on Calvary, and it continues to the end of time in the Sacrifice of the Mass. This is one and the same Sacrifice with One and the Same Jesus Christ. We have the opportunity to follow Him in His Sacrifice through the Mass. Our attendance at the Mass is not enough, we are called upon to participate in the Mass. We must participate in the Sacrifice. We must unite our own sacrifices with His in the Mass. As St. Paul instructs us we must fill up within ourselves what is lacking in Him. For each of us, the only thing lacking in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ is our willing and loving participation with Him.
During the Season of Lent, we are making various small sacrifices of our lives or the comforts of our physical lives we are denying ourselves. To make these sacrifices fruitful we must be following Jesus, we must be uniting our tiny offerings with His. In this manner, our sacrifices are enlarged and made worthy and acceptable to God. Our prayer then is to be able to persevere in these good works and not turn away from our crosses; but to see that in dying to ourselves and this world, we live in Jesus in Heaven.
As this life of ours must pass away, so should the life of God increase and consume our lives. Again, with St. Paul, we are called upon to say: "it is no longer I, but it is Christ Jesus living within me." The vision of Heaven and the glories of God await us, but to get to them, we must follow Jesus in the sacrifice of ourselves and death.
This dying to ourselves is not painful, or morbid when our love for Jesus is great. The degree of our reluctance to pain and suffering in this world is inverse to the degree of our genuine love of God. It is God's will that we embrace the pain and suffering that leads to our physical death in this life as a necessary means to eternal happiness with Him in Heaven.
In our times of trials and tribulations, we can call to mind the Transfiguration and hear the voice of God instructing us to hear His Son. In hearing His Son, we understand or find meaning in every cross and tribulation that we may ever face in this life. Our sufferings are not without purpose. Those sufferings that we choose for ourselves and make offerings of to Him are of much greater value than those that are forced upon us. It is therefore imperative that we make this Season of Lent the best that we have ever passed through. With loving hearts and souls, we should offer Him the finest that we have to offer of whatever sacrifices we can make. The best is not measured in monetary or worldly values. The best we have to offer includes the best of material things, and the best of our very lives, however, above and beyond all this (even more importantly than all these things) we are to offer Him our love. The true and worthwhile sacrifices are only those that are made with willing and loving hearts. It is this love that God demands and even pleads for. This is what we should seek for and pray for that we may live and die in the love of Him as He did for us. True love does not count the cost and gives freely and greatly of everything even of its very self.
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