By Father Alonzo Cox
I had the great privilege of being on pilgrimage in the Holy Land with my seminary classmates almost 11 years ago. We were given the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land with the seminary rector and some other seminarians. At the time, I was a transitional deacon, so I enjoyed exercising diaconal ministry at many of the holy places.
One of our stops, of course, was Mount Tabor, where our Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John. For those of you who have been to Mount Tabor, you know that it’s not the easiest place to get to, especially if you are afraid of heights, as I am. We had to take separate passenger vans that would get us up to the top of the mount.
The two-lane road winds so that if you were sitting at the window, you wouldn’t want to look out of it. When we finally got to the top, I echoed the words of Peter in today’s gospel, “It is good that we are here!” I cannot begin to imagine the fear and trepidation that Peter, James, and John must have felt as they witnessed Jesus being transfigured before their very eyes. Seeing and hearing Moses and Elijah must have brought feelings of not just fear but awe. How privileged they were to be with the Lord at this amazing moment. They were able to have an encounter with Jesus that radically and forever changed their lives.
As disciples of Jesus, we, too, can have these moments when we enter into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is at the celebration of the Eucharist that we truly encounter the presence of Christ. Our Lord gives of himself, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity for our salvation. It is truly an extraordinary moment when we hear the words, “This is my body, this is my blood.” Like Peter, our reaction should always be, “It is good that we are here!”
We hear that voice of the Father say, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” On this second Sunday of Lent, we are invited to have an encounter with the Lord and to listen. These days of Lent are meant to be a time of listening to what God is saying to us. We live in a world of such distraction that we are unable at times to hear the voice of God speaking to us.
How often do we get distracted at Mass, focusing on other things such as our cell phone or other device and not listening to the Word of God being proclaimed and entering into the wondrous mystery of our faith? How often do we allow fear or worry to distract us from encountering the great love God has for us?
St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans that Christ intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father. God speaks to us every day, but we must be better listeners. As we continue our Lenten journey, let us pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen us to be better disciples.
We approach the Lord with hearts filled with gratitude, for he gives of himself out of pure love. Let us have the courage always to echo the words of Peter, “Lord, it is good that we are here.”
Readings for Second Sunday of Lent
Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
Father Cox is the pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish, Bedford-Stuyvesant and coordinator for the vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns for the Diocese of Brooklyn.