Second Sunday of Lent

The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. These are the opening words of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel. It’s a marvellous statement which must have come from his personal experience. Francis appears to live in constant and personal touch with Jesus Christ. His spirituality which has enriched the church over the past ten years is filled with the Spirit of Christ. His closeness to God seems to engender a spiritual experience in people who readily identify with his warm and simple words.

The Transfiguration Gospel for this Sunday allows us to glimpse a morsel of the profound encounter with Jesus on the high mountain with which the three disciples were blest. The great question of Jesus to Peter six days earlier rings in the background: Who do you say that I am?  The truth of who Jesus is came from the cloud: This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.  Thomas Aquinas is reputed to have had a mystical experience in prayer as a result of which he never wrote another word of theology; compared to that reality everything he had written until then seemed to him like straw. The experience of the Transfiguration left the three disciples floundering and out of their depth.

“I once read that the initial builders of Notre Dame de Paris knew they would not live to see their work completed. What enviable faith! Centuries later, as a college student abroad feeling worldly and agnostic, I visited Notre Dame. I’d happened upon a Sunday afternoon organ recital. I knelt, transfixed by the Cathedral’s ancient incensed majesty. My senses overtaken by the presence of God, by sight and sound so immense and soaring, I found myself crying. I didn’t grasp it that day, but I suspect God knew I needed to be awestruck” – Valerie Schultz.

A city provides much opportunity for creative and sacred encounter. Its art and museums, its theatre, dance and music, its sport and recreation, its lecture programmes, its places of historical interest and the medieval lines of its old castles and cathedrals. Part of discovering God is discovering the riches of the place where we live, and it doesn’t always have to be of great expense. There are such riches to be found in walking river footpaths, greenways, waterfronts, and wharfs that jut into the bay, or discovering a part of the city you had never before explored, like a church you had not yet visited. These encounters replenish our spirit, awaken our wonder and recharge our soul – cf. The City is my Monastery, Richard Carter, 44.

Fr. QQ – 03/01/2022

We all need to go apart, to ascend the mountain in a space of silence, to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord – Pope Francis


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