Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent – 2024

Written on: February 22, 2024

Written by Sister Ceil Cosgrove, GNSH

First Reading: Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Second Reading: Romans 8:31b-34
Psalm: Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
Gospel: Mark 9:2-10

When asked to share some reflection on the readings for the Second Sunday of Lent, my initial reaction was, “How can I do that?” The reading from Genesis is one I find too contrary to my sense of God. I do not believe God asks us to follow God’s will to such an extent that we might murder or accept the murder/death of our children as what God wants. I do not believe God asks this of us in order to prove our level of faith.

I was reflecting on this in light of so many parents called to suffer the journey of their sick children, and the people of our world suffering the multiple costs of war.

Are they to believe this is God’s will? Are they to hang in there believing that God is asking this of them to test/prove their faith? Are they to hang on to the hope that God will provide the ram and reward their faith?

I think not! Perhaps there is another way of understanding this story, which makes more sense to those of us who live out the gift of believing in a loving God. Scripture is filled with stories that hopefully help us to understand our God. Sometimes stories are exaggerations that on the surface make no sense but catch our attention.

Because we have not always understood God as loving, perhaps this story is to help the reader know that in contrast to the horrific ask that Abraham faced, we had best focus on the gift of the ram and the promises of blessings – not that the blessings came because we were obedient, but because of a God who gives those blessings so that we can see and understand them in our life of faith.

Paul reinforces that gift from God. God will share Jesus with us at great cost.

God will share the Beloved and ask us to listen to him.

And so, the Gospel story: I can’t help but believe that whatever happened in their journey that day or on many days together, Jesus, Peter, James, and John needed help understanding the fullness of who Jesus was and that the story had to be told in such a striking manner (transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzling white, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”) that they would ‘get it’. They would be struck in such a way as to reinforce their faith, their courage, and to help them to live out the mystery unfolding. The mystery of a loving God fulfilled in the person of Jesus.

And, as so often happens, they did not understand it fully and were encouraged by Jesus to keep it in their hearts until it would be clearer to them all – ready to be shared with others.


Our 2024 Lenten Reflection Series:
Ash Wednesday | Reflection by Sister Rita Margraff, GNSH
Second Sunday of Lent | Reflection by Sister Ceil Cosgrove, GNSH

6 thoughts on “Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent – 2024

  1. Maryellen Glackin says:

    A most contrary thought to figure out how a loving God could ask us to act in such a seemingly unloving way. I appreciate your analysis of this disturbing passage from Genesis, but perhaps another twist is that God is just trying to get our attention. The gift of the grace is the thing we receive, but we might not notice it without a bit of shock first. The test isn’t “how much do you love me?” Rather, it is “Are you paying attention to how much I love you?” Now go and love as deeply!
    Beautiful reflection!

  2. Michael McClure says:

    “a loving God fulfilled in the person of Jesus” I believe
    as you do

  3. Kathleen A. Koon says:

    Thank-you, Sister Ceil. That was a helpful interpretation of a difficult reading. Greetings from a former classmate, Kathy A.

  4. Kenneth Stuczynski says:

    Thank you for bringing G-d’s Grace and Wisdom to a difficult passage in a difficult time.

  5. Ed Hackett says:

    I agree with Sister. Thank Heaven I was never in Abraham shoes. Thanks for the Lenten help.

  6. Michael (Jay) Dougher says:

    Dear Grey Nuns,
    I was born and raised Catholic. Similar to Thomas Merton I went west, and now practice Tibetan Buddhism, also called Vajrayana Buddhism.

    I still identify as a Christian, and even a Catholic, although I’m not sure that Catholics would identify with me!

    Buddhism is something of a Gnostic teaching, wouldn’t that be an accurate statement? Our own mind is taught to be timelessly pure, and our true nature, however, for the moment we don’t recognize this; although it is possible at any moment.

    The greatest masters insist a beginning cannot and never has been found.

    In short, I’m simply trying to share that in the Buddhist tradition there is no Creator God. There’s eternity, there is Nirvana which is comparable to heaven – and again, it is present now as our true nature we simply don’t recognize.

    So, please dialogue with your Vajrayana nun counterparts, because it will be mutually enriching, and because if the Gnostic perspective is correct you have to come to terms with yourself; and we practice that through cultivating the heart and motivation of bodhichitta – which is love for all sentient beings (infinite) and the wish to practice to bring all beings without exception to perfect ; Enlightenment.

    Jesus said we see through a glass unclearly, right? And he told us to love our enemies to be worthy of the Kingdom.

    The great Bodhisattvas are reputed to forsake Nirvana so long as a single being is left behind; even if it took countless eons. That’s Christian love and that’s what Jesus taught, too.

    There is no eternal hell realm in Buddhism. What would that say about Christ and Jesus? Exactly.

    Peace be with you, and will you please begin some interfaith dialogue?

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