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:: Faith Today: Lent 2010 ::

Second Sunday of Lent
Sunday Feb. 28, 2010

Transfiguration Fine Art Print

Transfiguration Fine Art Print

"... His Face changed in appearance and His clothing became dazzling white. ... from the cloud came a Voice that said, 'This is My chosen Son; listen to Him.'"

News and Inspiration :: Today's Mass :: Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) :: Saintly Example :: Holy Father's and other Prayer Intentions

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News & Inspiration

+ Saints News: Saint Bonaventure: A Man of Action and Contemplation - Pope Benedict XVI
+
Lent: Catechism of the Catholic Church
+ Lent: Papal Message for Lent 2010
+
Bioethics: Human Dignity and Natural Moral Law
+
Abide in God and Keep His Commandments: Pope Benedict on John Chapters 15-16
+ Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes: Pope Benedict tells Church to evangelize and care for the sick in body and spirit
+ Saint Anthony of Padua: Example to preachers, one of most popular Saints ― Pope Benedict XVI Audience

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Today's Mass
Readings: usccb.org/nab/022110.shtml
+ "While He was praying His Face changed in appearance and His clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with Him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His Exodus
that He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. ... from the cloud came a Voice that said, 'This is My chosen Son; listen to Him.'"

+ "Our Citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we also await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
+ "The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom should I fear?"
+ "The Lord God took Abram outside and said, 'Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,' He added, 'shall your descendants be.'"

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Transfiguration Fine Art Print
Transfiguration Fine Art Print
GOSPEL: Luke 9:28b-36

The Holy Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor

Jesus takes Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.

Jesus is transfigured, with His Holy Face radiant, and His clothes dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Him about what is referred to as His coming "Exodus" in Jerusalem.

A cloud envelopes all, and the Voice of God the Father declares: "This is My chosen Son; listen to him."

Here is one of the limited number of instances where God the Father speaks audibly in the New Testament. Another is at the Baptism of Jesus, when God the Father says Jesus is His Beloved Son, in Whom He is well pleased.

Note that, with Jesus being True God and True Man, here the ineffable Glory of His Divinity shines through. As noted below, in today's Divine Office, Saint Leo the Great observes that seeing a reminder of Jesus' Divine Nature could help the Apostles, or at least Peter, John, and James, during the trying times of Jesus' Passion and Death. Recall the Saint John the Evangelist, alone, is the one Apostle who stays with Jesus at the foot of the Cross.

Note also that Moses finally gets to enter the Promised Land. The Promised Land was initially the promised final destination for the Israelite exodus, but due to Moses' lack of faith at a particular moment, he only is allowed to view the Promised Land from a distance before passing on.

With the arrival of Jesus, the past is healed, Moses' weakness redeemed, the promise restored and fulfilled, and not just for Moses but for all.

Here, Moses finally arrives and his own original Old Testament exodus is complete. With the arrival of Jesus Christ on the scene, Moses enters the Promised Land, during this time on Mount Tabor with Jesus and Elijah.

As, to some extent, commentators have pointed out, Moses represents the Old Testament Law and the Covenant with the Israelites, including their journey out of slavery in the Promised Land, and Elijah represents the Old Testament Prophets. Here they stand in continuity with Jesus the Messiah, whose coming ushers in our Redemption and the age to precede His Second Coming to establish a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Note also how Moses and Elijah refer to Jesus' coming Passion, Death, and Resurrection as an Exodus.

What did Exodus mean? It meant liberation from slavery in a strange land, that had initially seemed to hold promise, which met needs at first, but in the end proved alien. Exodus meant a journay, and trials overcome with God's Grace. It eventually meant arrival in the Promised Land.

With Jesus, He takes on our sins and afflictions and, through His Suffering and Sacrifice, leads us out of slavery to sin and earthly suffering into an invitation for Salvation and Eternal Life. Earth in its current form is merely a transit point, as we are truly citizens of Heaven, our True Homeland.

He Himself undergoes the trials of the Passion, dies, descends to the dead, and is raised from the dead. He was dead but now He Lives. He ascends to Heaven and sits at the Right Hand of the Father.

Jesus begins the process of ridding the world of a reign of evil and wrestling control of it away from evil, to culminate in His Second Coming and a New Heaven and a New Earth, the Reign of God.

SECOND READING: Philippians 3:17—4:1 or 3:20—4:1

The Apostle Paul reminds us that we truly are citizens of Heaven.

We await Jesus Christ our Savior to come from Heaven to transform our lowly bodies to conform to His Glorified Body, to live with Him in Eternal Life.

What does it mean to be citizens of our True Homeland? It means that is where we belong, that is where we owe allegiance, that is the source of our culture, our understanding, our perspective on what is around us, our values, our goals.

It also is our Kinship. Jesus Christ is our Friend as well as our Shepherd. We know His Voice. We know Him and He knows us. Heaven is our Home.

PSALM 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14

Psalm 27 declares: "The Lord is my light and my salvation. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?"

The psalmist enourages us to take courage and wait for God.

The psalmist asks God to hear us and take pity, to let us see Him, and be in His Presence. He professes his Faith that he "shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living."

FIRST READING: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18

Night Sky with Stars Over Desert with Joshua Trees
nasa.gov
God takes Abram (the future Abraham) outside and tells him to look at the night sky. God says, "'Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so shall your descendants be.'" Abram puts His Faith in God.

When Abram asks reassurance, God invites him to sacrifice animal flesh by fire. At sunset, presumably the subsequent day, Abram goes into a trance and into a deep darkness. While he is in this state, God makes a Covenant promising Abram's descendents all land between Egypt and the Euphrates River (in modern Iraq).

Abram is an old man, alone in the worlds with with old wife, who finds himself conversing with God. He Trusts in God, believing the promise. Where now there exists one man and his wife, surrounding by largely empty space in a desert region, a new reality will come to pass through God's Will, a multitudinous people.

True leadership, creativity, and inspiration also springs from transformation, from seeing something new built where nothing existed like it before. Here, Abram trusts in God that even in his old age, he will be the father of a nation. Our Father in Faith, Abraham has a multitude of descendents in Faith across the earth. A recent announcement from the Vatican indicates that the number of Catholics is now approaching 1.2 billion.

Will we open our hearts and minds to God's Promise to us of what is to come? Will we trust in God, and cooperate with what He has in store for us in His Divine Plan?

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament © 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C., at times enhanced to provide additional capitalization. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours)

The beginning of the Invitatory includes a verse from the Letter to the Hebrews:

Encourage each other daily, while it is still today.

Invitatory, The Ordinary of the Liturgy of the Hours, The Liturgy of the Hours, According to the Roman Rite, e.g., Vol. III, Ordinary Time Weeks 1-17, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1975, at 649, quoting The Letter to the Hebrews 3:13.

At some point, today will be gone, and we should be certain to have taken advantage of all the opportunities today offered for our Sanctification and true growth as human beings, on the Path of Discipleship along which God beckons us to Eternal Life.

In today's Office of Readings, Saint Leo the Great considers the Holy Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in the light of Jesus Passion, Death, and Resurrection. He considers that Peter, John, and James are given a glimpse of Jesus' Divinity to help them endure their later experiencing His Passion and Death prior to His Resurrection:

The Lord reveals His Glory in the presence of chosen witnesses. His Body is like that of the rest of mankind, but he makes it shine with such splendor that His Face becomes like the sun in Glory, and His Garments as white as snow.

The great reason for this Transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the Cross from the hearts of the Disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of His voluntary suffering from disturbing the Faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing Glory that lay concealed.

Saint Leo the Great, sermon, Office of Readings, Second Sunday of Lent, The Liturgy of the Hours, According to the Roman Rite, Vol. II, Lent - Easter Season, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1975, at 149.

The good Saint goes on to observe how the entire Church draws hope for the glorification of her members:

With no less forethought He was also providing a firm foundation for the Hope of Holy Church. The whole Body of Christ was to understand the kind of Transformation that it would receive as His Gift. The members of that Body were to look forward to a share in that Glory which first blazed out in Christ their Head.

Ibid.

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Saints of February

+ "Saint of the Day" by the USCCB
+
"Saint of the Day" by AmericanCatholic.org (Franciscans; on rare occasions, slightly different than the official feast day)
+ Saints of the Day, from St. Patrick's Church, Washington, D.C.
+ Saints with Feast Days in February

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Prayer Intentions

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for February 2010

+ General Intention: scholarly sincere search for truth enhancing understanding of God - "That by means of sincere search for the truth scholars and intellectuals may arrive at a[ better] understanding of the One True God."
+ Mission intention: Church being Faithful to Christ, universality of Gospel Mission: - "That the Church, aware of Her own Missionary Identity, may strive to follow Christ faithfully and to proclaim His Gospel to all peoples."

Additional Faith Central Prayer Intentions

+ For additional support and guidance for the development of Faith Central
+ For the elderly and infirmed, their protection by the Blessed Mother, and that they be treated with respect, dignity, and love.
+ For respect for human life and the dignity of the human person, from their creation prior to conception, to natural death.
+ That God's Will be obeyed by all actions of government and all government-related actions of the populace
+ For an end to the recession, and for all humanity to work together to bear fruit in service to the needs of all
+ For those of means to divert resources to help those in the human family, locally or abroad, who are hungry, starving, or homeless
+ For peace in the world, and the conversion of the hearts of terrorists.
+ For peace in the world in families, especially for women and men facing crisis pregnancies, their preborn children, and those assisting them, especially their relatives and those volunteers and professionals dedicated to prolife work.
+ For the conversion of the hearts of sinners.
+ For the Faithful Departed, especially the relatives of those praying and those they have met or have known.
+ For the Faithful Departed, especially those with no one praying for them.

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Keywords: Jesus Christ, Temptation in the Desert, Catholic, Gospel of Luke, Psalm 31, Saint Paul Letter to the Romans, Saint Augustine, Divine Office, Liturgy of the Hours, Daily Readings, Mass, Catholic Faith, Christian, Pope Benedict XVI, Holy Father, Prayer Intentions, Catholic News

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