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Sunday Scripture Readings, Feb. 24, 2013

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

February 24, Second Sunday of Lent

1) Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18

Psalm 27:1, 7-9, 13-14

2) Philippians 3:17-4:1

Gospel) Luke 9:28b-36

This Lent, the church is right in the middle of the Year of Faith, a time to seek to know Jesus in a more intimate and fruitful way. For me, it's been a good time to revisit some spiritual practices, including keeping a spiritual journal.

Over the years, I've stashed away enough notebooks from retreats and notations in daily devotional books to give me several hours of reading material. My annual Lenten review of journal entries has given me a couple of revelations: 1) the fear of change -- even change for the better -- seems to be a recurrent theme, and 2) over time, much of the transformation I feared has indeed occurred, sometimes in ways so gradual, subtle and unexpected that I missed them at the time.

In today's readings, Abram has received a wonderful promise of descendants as numerous as the stars that God asks him to count, if he can, in broad daylight. The bonus promise of land is ratified in a covenant ceremony that Abram is content to watch until God envelopes him in a "deep, terrifying darkness." In the Gospel, Peter, James and John see the Lord transfigured before their eyes -- altogether a good thing until the same cloud surrounds them and they become frightened.

St. Paul tells us that our "citizenship is in heaven" and that our bodies will be changed to conform with Christ's glorified body -- also a good thing (the effects of aging make it look better all the time!). But preparation for heavenly citizenship already has begun on the inside, and cooperating with that kind of change is often painful and even terrifying.

In my typical result-oriented fashion, I welcome the personal transformation that God promises because I anticipate the magnificent outcome. What I don't welcome is the intricate and hidden process by which God takes me there.

I get discouraged when I don't see the stars of progress in broad daylight. But it's in times of darkness, when anxiety and inertia threaten to overwhelm me, when I "wait for the Lord," that God is working out the transformation, and the stars become visible with the eyes of faith. With the transfigured Lord Jesus ever before me as "my light and my salvation," whom -- or what -- should I fear?


What sorts of personal changes do you fear the most? How have you been able to see, over time, the ways in which the power of God has worked change in you?


"Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted and wait for the Lord." -- Psalms 27:14


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