Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Welcome on this Second Sunday in Lent. We continue in our theme for this Lent – struggle.
We will consider the stories of those who have struggled to the point of giving up on God and faith in Him. We see in these stories moments where people may have given up for a time, and who, in the end, were fortified because of their struggle. We may not see these people ever overcoming their struggles, but still committed to overcoming.
Through these stories we will realize that our struggles are evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The Holy Spirit moves in us and because of that we struggle against the things that separate us from Christ. We are not abandoned.
Let us consider our readings and gospel.
Imagine the struggle of Abraham as he journeys to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his only son as God had asked him. Abraham’s faith is sorely tested. Each step of the journey a torture and a consideration of the ultimate loss. Imagine Isaac’s bewilderment as the realization of what is to happen sinks in. Yet they are there. They are there in a supreme act of trust. In the end, their faith is reaffirmed and rewarded – but the process of getting there impossible struggle.
Imagine the struggle of those three disciples on Mount Tabor with Jesus. They are given a glorious vision of Jesus, the Son of God. It is meant to strengthen their faith amid the impossible struggle coming up in Jesus’ arrest, torture, death, and burial. As they descend the mountain the specter of death is before them, and they live in confusion from that day forward. After Jesus’ arrest and death, they forgot the lesson of the Transfiguration including God’s voice: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” All but John went into hiding and would not stay with Jesus.
St. Paul reminds us of the power of our God amidst our struggles. He tells us what he knew by experience, by the salvation he received on the road to Damascus. If God is for us, who can be against us?
God carried out what He stopped Abraham from doing. He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all. God gave His all for us and in that we have reassurance amidst our struggles. We can proclaim with Paul that God will give us everything else along with Jesus. Because of that we are free and secure even in our struggles.