First reading: Genesis 22:1-2;9-13,15-18 Second reading: Rom 8:31-34 Gospel: Mark 9:2-10

Today is the second Sunday of Lent. In the holy season of Lent we are invited to take some time to evaluate our set of values, our conducts, our behaviors and attitudes. It is a season that helps us to re-examine our lives. An ancient Greek philosopher Socrates says ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’ ( Plato’s Apology, 38a5-6). If the season of Lent is a time of examination of our lives, it implies that a life without Lent is not worth living. So we need this holy season to live a worthy life. The readings of this second Sunday of Lent provide us with three important metaphors to guide the re-examination of our lives.

  1. Being tested
  2. The mounting
  3. The event of transfiguration.

Being Tested

The first reading is taken from the book of Genesis 22. It narrates the story of Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son Isaac. Every parent must be moved by this terrible and touching story. How could a parent do such a thing? Hang on! Before you go further with moral questions, judging and analyzing the story with the modern standards; let’s look at the context first. The point is that God puts Abraham to a test. The boy was Abraham’s last hope for the survival of his family, granted to him by God’s promise. Isaac carries the wood, but Abraham carefully carries anything on which the child might hurt himself, the fire the knife. Abraham trusted in God right up to the brink of disaster, somehow confident that God would intervene.

St. Paul stresses that Abraham’s total trust in God was his justification. That made him a tested and trusted friend of God. He had a blind and complete trust in God’s promises, friendship and faithfulness. He sees beyond the love for his son and the pleasure of having him. He sees the faithfulness of God in making him the father of all nations even if he sacrifices his only son. He trusts God’s love and his provision. He becomes a tested and trusted friend of God, ready for the great mission of being the father of all nations.

We all are tested in various forms, times, and circumstances. For example, in pursuing our dream careers in life- we are tested. We constantly face the test that comes with the career. We are tested in our relationships- husband and wife and circle of friends. Are you able to stand the tests when they come? Or do you easily give up? In the face of a quarrel or misunderstanding with a friend, do you give up on friendship because of offense, quarrel or misunderstanding? Can you withstand the test of friendship? Fidelity is tested, loyalty is tested, honesty is tested, courage is tested, etc. To what extent can you stand the test?

The Mountain

Abraham’s test was on a mountain. That brings us to our second metaphor. Mountains are extremely significant in the Bible, Mount Ararat, and Noah’s flood, Mount Moriah where Abraham’s test and sacrifice took place, Mount Jerusalem and Mount Zion, etc. Mountains are treated as sacred places in the Bible. They represent where God appears and manifests himself in special ways. They are places of Theophany-(which means God’s supernatural revelation of himself). Mountains are places with higher elevation, on top of which one stands and captures a broader view. It reminds me of the Fernsehturm here in Berlin. On top of the Fernsehturm one gets a broader view of Berlin.

If you have ever climbed a mountain before, it is most often strenuous. Some people may take delight in that but for others, it could be frightening and very challenging. For people with height’s phobia they could experience panic and fear. To climb up to the top of the mountain is a challenging task.Lent is like climbing a mountain, to get a broader view of reality as against imprisonment in one’s own myopic view of the world, self centeredness, pleasures and feeling of self-sufficiency. That’s why we are encouraged during this Lenten Season to practice self-renunciation, through fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.


The gospel reading starts like this: Jesus took with him Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain, where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured. Here you see the metaphor of the mountain reoccurs in this story and the metaphor of transfiguration.

St. Ephrem says that there are three reasons Jesus took the apostles up to the mountain. First to show them the glory of his divinity, then to declare himself Israel’s redeemer and thirdly to prevent the apostles from being scandalized at seeing him enduring human suffering. He took them up onto the mountain in order to show them his kingship before they witnessed his passion, to let them witness his mighty power before they watched his death, to reveal his glory before they behold his humiliation. This was a preparation for them to be able withstand the test they will face. He is a good teacher who prepares his students for tests. He is like good parents that prepare their children for the test of life.With transfigured eyes they could see what shines brighter than suffering. With transfigured ears they could hear the most sublime and true voice of the father as against the jeering voices of the crowd crying, crucify him.The preface of today’s liturgy says “ for after he had told the disciples of his coming death, in the holy mountain he manifested to them his glory, to show, even by the testimony of the law and the prophets, that the passion leads to the glory of the resurrection”.

We are constantly tested in various forms especially through suffering. Through the mystery of the transfiguration Christ is promising us all, that with the testimony of Moses and Elijah, these sufferings are going to end in glory. St. Paul puts it this way, no eyes have seen nor ear heard, neither have it entered into the human heart, the things God has prepared for them that love him.(cf.1 Cor. 2:9)  The  sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us….Rom. 8.18-23.If you are going through any test, don’t give up. Don’t give up on your goal, do not give up on your vision, don’t give up on your dream and don’t lose sight of your target. Look beyond the tests, see beyond the suffering, climb up the mountain to have a bigger picture. These will help you to stand the test. At the end, like Abraham you will be a friend of God. TESTED AND TRUSTED. 

Father Sylvester Ajunwa

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.