Catechism Conection
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2nd Sunday in Lent Cycle A 2017

Catechism Connections
Second Sunday of Lent  Cycle A
Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22; 2 Timothy 1:8b-10; 
Matthew 17:1-9
 
This weekend, we continue our Lenten journey.  Our first reading invites us to reflect on faith and on our salvation history journey toward more faith, when we meet Abraham, destined to become the father of many nations.  Christians, Jews and Moslems all consider Abraham their father in faith.  He is the quintessential man of faith in the Hebrew Scriptures.  He is also the one who begins the historical story of our ancestors. He was willing to leave all and go where God asked him to go, even though he had no idea of where that was.  He believed in God when God told him his descendants would be as numerous as stars in the sky, yet his wife, Sarah, appeared to be barren, and when they finally did conceive and have a son, God asked him to sacrifice that only son and he was willing to do so.  Kierkegaard calls Abraham a “knight of faith” vs. the “knight of infinite resignation,” which might characterize many of us.  The knight of infinite resignation follows God only so far and then halts; the knight of faith takes that last final leap into the unknown and simply trusts God will catch him.  Psalm 33 today is a psalm about such trust: our hearts wait for the Lord, for we have put our trust in God.  The gospel is the story of the transfiguration, in which Peter, James and John are challenged to believe that this Jesus whom they are following was actually more than just another fisherman or carpenter.  The skies opened up and God revealed to them that he was God's beloved Son.  Paul’s second letter to Timothy asks us to defend the gospel and bear any hardships entailed in that defense.  Two paragraphs in The Catechism of the Catholic Church define and reflect on Abraham’s faith.  May our father in faith be a model for us this penitential season, “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!  (Mark 9:24). 
 
From the Catechism: 
 
145 The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel’s ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham’s faith: “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.”  By faith, he lives as a stranger and pilgrim in the Promised Land.  By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise.  And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice.
 
146Abraham thus fulfills the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”:  Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”  Because he was “strong in faith,” Abraham became the “father of all who believe”.