Her Doctrine and Morals

Second Sunday in Lent

17 March 2019


The Sunday


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Dear Friends,

Jesus instructing Saint Peter and the other Apostles has left a most profound lesson for us. In the Gospel for today, St. Peter along with St. James and St. John ascended the mountain where Jesus was transfigured before them. They are privileged to witness the glorified humanity of Jesus. St. Peter offers to build shelters for Jesus, Moses, and Elias. He recognized that it was good to be there and he desired to remain there. We also know that St. Peter desired to keep Jesus from entering Jerusalem where He will die as Jesus has foretold. God has also revealed to St. Peter that Jesus is the Son of God. St. Peter wants to do everything he can to prevent the fulfillment of what Jesus had foretold.

On Holy, Thursday St. Peter objects to having his feet washed by the Son of God. He relents when Jesus explains to him that it is necessary. St. Peter professes his willingness to die with Jesus, but then is not able to watch and pray for an hour with Him in the Garden. Then we see that St. Peter denies even knowing Jesus three times before the next morning. There is a definite conflict and confusion that St. Peter had to endure.

His true love for Jesus revolts at the idea that any harm should happen to the Son of God. He desires to do all that he can to prevent this from ever happening. At the same time, He has heard Jesus tell him that this is all going to happen. It has been prophesized. It is necessary. The reality of Jesus having to suffer and die is inconceivable because of all that St. Peter has seen and heard from Him. He believes Jesus, but he does not want to believe this.

The voice of God came from the cloud on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured and instructed St. Peter and us: "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him." We are to set aside our own thoughts and desires to hear and conform ourselves to the thoughts and desires of God. It is the Will of God for Jesus to suffer and die in Jerusalem. St. Peter must stop resisting and humbly submit.

The way of God is often shown to us through the most disagreeable ways. He takes an impossible or a bad situation and makes the greatest good come from it. The evil of His crucifixion was turned into the fountain of grace for the entire world. Hardships, poverty, suffering, death, etc. are all tremendous sources of grace in the Hands of God. We naturally shun pain and sorrow, but when we freely and willingly enter into pain and sorrow for the love of God, we find that it is ultimately turned into our greatest pleasure and happiness.

Very often we cannot see any good in things around us. It is in these moments when God usually has the greatest good in store for us. Finding that good is as simple as following the voice of God — "Hear ye Him." What is the message that Jesus gives us over and over? Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and come follow Me. We are asked to suspend our own judgments because ultimately we know very little and are incompetent to judge either ourselves or others and much less the ways of God. St. Peter needed to set aside His loving good intentions because ultimately they are misguided. No matter how good these intentions and desires appear in our human minds, they are not necessarily in agreement with the Will of God.

We must strive to always have good intentions, but we must also be willing to sacrifice these when they become impossible for us to obtain or it is clearly shown to us that they are not in accord with God's Will. In addition to this, we must willingly embrace things that are difficult, burdensome, or even painful — our crosses. In this denial of our own desires and will we die to ourselves and make room for the desires and Will of God. In embracing the sacrifice of our comfort, convenience, or pleasure we set aside physical goods and open the path to receive even greater spiritual goods. As we begin to die to this world and our physical selves, we begin to live a greater spiritual life in Jesus and in eternity.

May we take this opportunity to try and understand St. Peter and the love that motivated him even though he was wrong. From this let us learn about ourselves. Do we love Jesus as St. Peter loved Him? Are we eager to offer ourselves up with Him or in place of Him, even if we are very much incapable of accomplishing this? Are we learning not to trust ourselves too much as he did so that we lean more upon God and His grace than upon ourselves? It is only in this denial and death of this life that we are able to receive and live our calling in eternal life.

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