Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reflection for Sunday, March 1, 2015

Second Sunday of Lent
MK 9: 2-10

“I believed, even when I said ‘I am greatly afflicted.’”

The psalmist has moved even deeper into the place Abraham found himself – when Abraham said yes to God.

“Take your son, whom you love, and offer him up… on a height I will point out to you.” As a father, I cannot fathom how Abraham could hear these words, and keep listening. Who has this strength? This faith?

The Torah says God put Abraham to the test. Surely Abraham passed the test. But what trauma rested in his heart before? And after? And could Isaac ever smell burning wood and ram’s flesh and not cringe, not feel in his gut, in his deepest memories, the bond father and son forged in testing their faith?

I do not pretend to offer any help on how to respond when God asks such things. I only hope. I hope that if such a test were to come my way, the God who got Abraham and Isaac through that day would visit me. I hope this God would help, would be with me, because I cannot trust myself in any test.

Who is against us? God goes as deep as the most terrible place we might find ourselves. This God, the psalmist tells us, loosens our bonds.

What did the disciples make of the visit they experienced on the height Jesus pointed out to them? “It is good to be here.” But then, Peter started talking nonsense. He was terrified. I do not pretend to offer any more than Peter said.

The Lord told his disciples not to try to relate what they had seen. But after he was risen, they would have much to say. They didn’t understand him then. But after he was risen, they would find him touching the deepest places, putting wonder and shouting where the deepest fears had been. The Son of Man, the scriptures reveal, loosens our bonds.

Dan Finucane is Associate Professor of Theological Studies.

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