BELIEVE, STAND FIRM, LISTEN!


2nd Sunday of Lent Year C
February 24, 2013

BELIEVE, STAND FIRM, LISTEN!

There is no mistaking it. Abram was called, not just once. He was called to leave Ur. But it entailed further callings. It entailed much more than just dragging one’s feet away from home. Today, Abram is told to look up to the stars and believe in a promise – that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars, and that God would make a covenant with his descendants.

Abram shone out in his faith. He believed. And he also obeyed. “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.”

But believing in God’s promise is no walk in the park. We all know that. We all know that Abram was eventually put to a big test. He would be asked later in his life to offer up his only son Isaac, just one of a series of seeming downturns or source of despondency in his life.

Doesn’t this remind you of Paul? Wasn’t he the one who was flogged, imprisoned, and suffered shipwrecks? But look at what he does. He calls on us to stand firm. Like he did … Like he showed… “Stand firm in the Lord!”

In our times, it is getting hard to be both a believer and one who belongs truly and fully. In this pluralist world, there is hardly anything you can feel strongly about without anyone hating you, contradicting you, or berating you. Cyber space is reeking with haters and naysayers, who are out there to cancel out what you stand for. And if I may sound like I am raining on our own parade, the Catholic Church seems to be the favorite whipping boy of these haters.

Today, I would like us all to close ranks and see what we all need to see with the eyes of faith. Abram’s greatness was based on his faith. Paul’s greatness was based on the same strength of faith that is worth emulating: “Be imitators of me,” he counseled.

The Transfiguration of the Lord is one such strength-giving experience. But it happened under particular and specific set of circumstances. And the most important of them all is that it happened while they were in the context of prayer up on the mountain, far from the madding crowd, and far from the plains of intrigue, noise, and confusion.

We Catholics are now immersed in so much intrigue, noise and confusion. Some of us are afraid to talk about our faith, for fear of being attacked or berated. Some of us who do make a stand are treated as pariahs.

Where now do we get our strength from? Where do we base our courage on? The Lord shows us how, and shows us what is in the offing for those who remain … He was transfigured in the presence of his disciples. This, too, is what awaits us. But there is one thing we need to do, apart from prayer. We need to be attentive. We need to listen. “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”

What or who is it we listen to most of the time?

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