Gospel Reflection – Sunday, February 25, 2024 – Mark 9,2-10 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Gn 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18)

Reading from the Book of Genesis:

In those days, God tested Abraham. Calling him, He said, “Abraham!” And he replied, “Here I am.” And God said, “Take your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will show you.” When they arrived at the place designated by God, Abraham built an altar, placed the wood on it, bound his son, and laid him on the wood on top of the altar. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, saying, “Abraham! Abraham!” He answered, “Here I am.” And the angel said to him, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you did not withhold your only son from me.” Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in the place of his son.

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “I swear by myself – declares the Lord – that because you acted as you did, and did not withhold your only son, I will bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

— The Word of the Lord.

— Thanks be to God.

Second Reading (Romans 8:31b-34)

Reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans:

Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

— The Word of the Lord.

— Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading (Mark 9:2-10)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark.

— Glory to you, O Lord.

At that time, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.

— The Gospel of the Lord.

— Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I gather with you to share a message of hope, love, and transformation. Our lives are filled with daily experiences, moments of joy, sadness, challenges, and triumphs. It is in these moments that we seek meaning and guidance, and that is precisely what today’s readings offer us.

Imagine, for a moment, embarking on a challenging journey through the mountains. The sun is high in the sky, illuminating the path ahead. You carry with you a heavy burden, a responsibility that feels almost unbearable. But you press on because you know it is necessary. You are following in the footsteps of Abraham, the father of faith, who also faced a challenging journey.

In today’s First Reading from the Book of Genesis, we are introduced to Abraham’s ultimate test. God asks him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Imagine the weight of that demand. Abraham could have questioned, resisted, or even refused. Yet, he chose to trust in God and move forward. This is a powerful lesson for all of us: to trust in God, even when the journey seems impossible.

Now, let us move on to the Second Reading, where Saint Paul reminds us of God’s unconditional love for us. He asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” These words resonate in our hearts today as we face challenges and adversities in our lives. Perhaps we feel discouraged or overwhelmed by circumstances. However, Saint Paul’s message is clear: with God by our side, there is nothing that can separate us from His love.

Now, we come to the Gospel of Mark, where we are transported to the top of a mountain with Jesus and three of His disciples. While there, Jesus is transfigured before them, shining with divine light. Peter, James, and John are amazed and afraid. They witness the presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets.

This transcendent experience reminds us of the importance of seeking moments of transfiguration in our own lives. While we may not see a literal vision of Jesus shining before us, we can seek moments of deep connection with Him through prayer, meditation, and reflection. These moments of transfiguration remind us of our true identity as sons and daughters of God and strengthen us to face life’s challenges.

Now, I would like to share a story that illustrates the central message of these readings. There was a woman named Mary who faced a serious illness. She underwent painful treatments and moments of uncertainty, but she kept her faith unwavering. In one of her most difficult moments, she read Saint Paul’s words: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” These words touched her heart and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Mary found refuge in her faith, just as Abraham did at the top of the mountain and the disciples in the transfigured presence of Jesus. She found moments of transfiguration in her own life, where she felt God’s loving presence enveloping her and giving her hope. These moments empowered her to face challenges with courage and confidence.

Dear brothers and sisters, how can we apply these lessons in our own lives? How can we find moments of transfiguration and strengthen our faith in the face of challenges? Allow me to offer some practical guidance.

Firstly, set aside daily time for prayer and meditation. Find a quiet place where you can connect with God and listen to His voice. This can be as simple as a few minutes of silence in the morning or at night before bed. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Imagine yourself at the top of a mountain, before the transfigured Jesus. Feel His presence and let His light shine in your hearts.

Secondly, cultivate trust in God in all circumstances. Remember Abraham’s words, who trusted in God even in the face of a difficult test. When you encounter challenges, remember that God is by your side and nothing can separate you from His love.

Thirdly, seek communion with others. Just as Peter, James, and John witnessed the transfiguration together, we also need community. Find people of faith with whom you can share your spiritual journeys, pray together, and support each other in difficult times.

Finally, remember that life is a journey. Just as Abraham had to climb the mountain before receiving God’s promise, we too will face challenges on our path. But, just as Abraham received the promise of numerous descendants, we are also called to trust in God’s promises for us and walk in faith, knowing that He has a greater purpose for our lives.

Dear brothers and sisters, today we have been invited to climb the mountain with Abraham, witness the transfiguration of Jesus, and listen to the words of Saint Paul. May these biblical passages come alive in our lives, may we find moments of transfiguration, and strengthen our faith in the face of challenges.

May we trust in God in all circumstances and seek communion with other believers. And may, in doing so, we experience the grace, love, and divine hope in our daily lives.

May God, in His infinite mercy, grant us the grace to live according to these teachings and may we be instruments of His peace and love in this world. So be it.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.