Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
When you were a kid, did you ever take on a commitment that later became a real challenge to keep?
As a teenager, I made a deal with my dad to earn a few dollars selling garden seeds door-to-door. Dad bought the seeds, and I became the salesman. But as the door-to-door rejections piled up, I began to question my original agreement.
Abraham and God made a commitment. God would make Abraham the father of a great nation. Abraham would be faithful to God in return. In today’s familiar story from Genesis, Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. It’s described as a test—a test of Abraham’s part of the covenant-bargain.
The demand God makes on Abraham may make us squirm. But Scripture scholars suggest that the story was actually meant to discourage Israel from the child sacrifices carried out by their neighbors.
It’s also a story of fidelity. And that’s where my teenage sales experience comes in. A commitment between two people calls for faithfulness until the end, no matter how difficult things get. Abraham believed in God’s promise, even in the face of the most difficult challenge imaginable.
As you examine your baptismal covenant during these Lenten days, let the challenge to self-denial remind us of the scriptural call to fidelity.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Gen 22:1-2, 10-13, 15-18), how did God put Abraham to the test? What did he tell him to do?
Was Abraham able to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God?
Did Abraham pass the test? What happened?
According to this week’s second reading (Rom 8:31b-34), how can God, who did not spare his own Son, not give us everything along with his Son?
Does Paul say that God will forgive everything wrong that we have done?
In the Gospel (Mark 9:2-10), who did Jesus take up a high mountain with him?
What happened to Jesus there?
Who appeared with Jesus on that mountain?
What did Peter say? What did the voice from heaven say?
In the Gospel, Jesus, Peter, James, and John camped on the mountain. Set up tents in your backyard or inside your house and have a campout.
Now that you have completed the first week of Lent, take some time to reflect on your Lenten promise. Create a journal and write about what you have learned this far into the season and ways in which you can strengthen or expand your commitment.