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We must follow Jesus


POPE JOHN PAUL II

Source:
Catholic Information Network
Type:
Catholic Perspectives
Date:
2/23/1997

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ABSTRACTLent Second Sunday - We must follow Jesus - by Pope John Paul II     Lent Second Sunday - We must follow Jesus by Pope John Paul II February 23, 1997 "On this Second Sunday of Lent, together with the Apostles we hear the announcement of the Resurrection.... The fasting and penance of this sacred season are oriented precisely to this event which is the key to the whole economy of salvation", the Holy Father said at the Roman parish of the Holy Cross on Via Flaminia, where he celebrated Mass and preached the homily on Sunday, 23 February. Here is a translation of his homily, which was given in Italian. 1. "This is my beloved Son; listen to him" (Mk 9:7). In the context of the Lord's Transfiguration, today once again we listen to the words that echoed at the moment of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan (cf. Mt 3:17). "Jesus took with him Peter and James and John ... and he was transfigured before them.... And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, 'Master, it is well that we are here, let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah" (Mk 9:2-5). At that very moment a voice was heard: "This is my beloved Son; listen to him" (Mk 9:7). This extraordinary manifestation of Jesus' divine sonship did not last long. When the Apostles looked up again, they saw no one else but Jesus, who "as they were coming down the mountain", the Evangelist continues, "charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man should have risen from the dead" (Mk 9:9). Thus on this Second Sunday of Lent together with the Apostles we hear the announcement of the Resurrection. We hear it as we set out with them on the way to Jerusalem, where we will relive the mystery of the Lord's Passion and Death. The fasting and penance of this sacred season are oriented precisely to this event which is the key to the whole economy of salvation. 2. The Transfiguration of the Lord, which tradition claims took place on Mount Tabor, gives prominence to the person and work of God the Father who is really and invisibly present beside his Son. This explains why that important Old Testament episode, which gives special emphasis to fatherhood, is used as a backdrop of the Gospel for the Transfiguration. Abraham's faith reflects the mystery of God In fact, the first reading taken from the Book of Genesis, recalls Abraham's sacrifice. He had a son, Isaac, born to him in his old age. He was the son who had been promised. But one day Abraham receives from God the order to offer him in sacrifice. The elderly patriarch finds himself facing the prospect of a sacrifice that for him, a father, is certainly the greatest imaginable. Nevertheless, he does not hesitate even for an instant, and after making the necessary preparations, sets out with Isaac for the appointed place. He builds an altar, sets the wood on it and, binding the boy, takes the knife to sacrifice him. Only then is he prevented by an order from on high: "Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me" (Gn 22:12). There is something disturbing about this event in which a father's faith and trust in God reach their apex. Rightly St Paul calls Abraham the "father of all believers (cf. Rom 4:11, 17). The Jewish and Christian religions refer to his faith. The Koran also recognizes the figure of Abraham. The faith of the father of believers is a mirror in which the mystery of God is reflected, a mystery of love that unites the Father and the Son. 3. Dear brothers and sisters of Holy Cross Parish on Via Flarninia! It is a great joy for me to celebrate Mass here today in this lovely church, built at the wish of my venerable predecessor St Pius X, and visited in 1964 by the Servant of God Pope Paul VI and raised by him to the rank of a minor basilica. I greet the Cardinal Vicar. I greet Cardinal Baurn, titular of the basilica, the Auxiliary Bishop in charge of this area, the parish priest, Fr Carlo Zanini, the parochial vicars and the Stigmatine Fathers, who have been entrusted with the pastor.......