Second Sunday in Lent– B
In today’s Gospel of Jesus’ Transfiguration in glory before Peter, James and John, Jesus’ Heavenly Father says to them: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”
And speaking of listening, some of us are pretty good at being selective listeners. We hear what we want to hear, and we tune out the rest. Some of you may be thinking, “My husband is really a selective listener.” But I also need to tell you that your husband is probably thinking the very same thing about you right now.
There is a story about a ninety-four-year-old man who had visited his doctor. Two days later, the doctor ran into this old gentleman, who had a beautiful young lady on his arm. The man said, “Doctor, I want to thank you for the good advice that you gave me in your office the other day.” The doctor said, “What advice?” The elderly man replied, “When you told me I should have a ‘hot mama’ and ‘be cheerful!’” The doctor replied, “I said no such thing! I told you that you had a heart murmur and to be careful!”
Selective listening …hearing what we want to hear.
There was a father who always seemed to be in a hurry. That night his little girl wanted to tell him something, but she was waiting for the right moment. Finally she said, “Daddy, I want to tell you about something that happened in school today, so I’ll tell you real, real fast!” The dad said to her, “No, no, Honey. You can tell me real, real slow.” The little girl then said something that hit him right between the eyes. She said, “Well then, Daddy, you’ll have to listen real, real slow too.”
Sometimes one of the greatest acts of love that we can offer to someone else is listening to them – not selectively, but with our full attention.
This weekend we hosted productions of “Compassion the Musical” here in Saint Joseph Church as the beginning of our Lenten mission for our Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes. In music and drama, it portrayed the compassion of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Saint Peter who was in prison, awaiting his own martyrdom. Saint Peter remembers scenes, being played on the stage below, of Jesus showing compassion to the poor and the sick, to children and to sinners.
On Monday evening at 7:00 PM in Saint Joseph Church, we will experience an evening of Taize Prayer. In Taize, France, in the Burgundy region, there is an ecumenical monastery to which pilgrims from all over the world flock for this prayer experience.
We will have the church in candlelight, with music from Taize – “Jesus, Remember Me” is one of the pieces – with choirs from Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes as well as from Our Lady of the Falls Parish. There will be stringed instruments, flute and readers – all under the leadership of the producer and director of “Compassion,” Christina Dupre. This Taize prayer service will last about an hour, and will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. This will be a beautiful and prayerful experience for all people of all ages. And I invite you to come as a part of our Lenten mission.
A powerful way the Lord shows us His mercy and compassion is in the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation or Confession.
We celebrate the Sacrament of Penance here at Saint Joseph’s every Saturday morning from 11:00 until 12:00 Noon. And every Thursday evening after the 7:00 PM Mass until 8:30 PM.
On this coming Wednesday evening, February 28th, we will have our annual diocesan-wide “Evening of Confession” in every parish with a resident priest from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. What a gift! And what a fine way to conclude our Lenten mission. I encourage everyone to celebrate this great sacrament of the Lord’s mercy and compassion during this season of Lent.
In today’s Gospel, for the Second Sunday of Lent, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a high mountain with Him, and He is transfigured in glory before them. His clothes are dazzlingly white for those moments. On either side of Jesus are Moses and Elijah, those great figures from the Old Testament. Then a cloud comes over them, and from that cloud the voice of Jesus’ Heavenly Father is heard: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”
Listen to whom? Listen to Jesus, the Son of God. Listen to Him.
And why? Because Jesus sees the whole picture. You and I only see parts of the picture.
There is that fable about the blind men that were trying to describe an elephant. One grabbed the tail and said, “An elephant is like a rope.” Another one grabbed a leg and said, “No, an elephant is like a tree.” None of them got it right in terms of how an elephant really looks. They only had parts of the elephant in their imaginations.
No matter what our age or how much know, you and I don’t see the whole picture of our lives. We only get glimpses. That is why we ask those questions throughout our lives: “Lord, why is this happening?” “Lord, what do you want me to do?” The Lord alone knows. We need to listen to Him.
How do we listen to God? He is speaking to each one of us right now during this Mass. There is at least one thing during this Mass that the Lord is telling you that will help you be a better person this week.
He speaks through the Scriptures, the Eucharist, the prayers, the music and the silence. “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” And not selectively, but with our full attention.
What can you and I do to listen more fully to Jesus? Well, Easter is just five weeks away. And there are four Gospel accounts, the very Word that Jesus speaks to us. How about making the resolution today to read all four Gospels during the next five weeks? I would suggest beginning with Mark’s Gospel – since it is the shortest one – and then continuing with Matthew and Luke, and finishing with John’s Gospel during Holy Week.
Perhaps this might be the beginning of a great new habit – reading the Bible, the Word of God, regularly.
And in doing this, Jesus asks us to hear Him – not selectively, but with our full attention. And to take to heart the invitation of God the Father Himself when He says to us: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”