Year A: Second Sunday of Lent
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1: 8-10
The lives of the early Christians were not easy. Once the initial enthusiasm wore off, there was the job of building and maintaining the Church - not as buildings but as people. The Christians were also being noticed by other people - and in many cases were viewed with suspicion. They were seen as the cause of family rifts - as people left the traditional religion of their family to join the new “sect” as they were seen. Their practices were questioned - and rumours began to go round about the Breaking of Bread being cannibalism. This seems hard to believe now - but caused the early Christians huge problems.
And so, many of the letters of St Paul and the other apostles contain words of encouragement and exhortations to patience and courage.
Today’s reading offers similar encouragement - but the words are not simply to rely on their own strength - but to rely on a strength far greater than any human one - the power of God.
God had called and chosen them to be holy - not because they had done anything worthy of note - but because it was in His loving purpose to do so.
The same applies to us in our day... we too have been called to a life of holiness - not because we have anything to commend us - but because God has chosen us. This choice does not make us special - and it does not make life easy - but the commission is to be channels of God’s grace into the world.
God had decided to offer this grace to the world - but had not revealed it until it was revealed in all its fullness in Jesus Christ. Now people had a model. Now people knew that Jesus had walked the earth and through His death and resurrection had abolished the power of death forever.
In times of hardship, they knew that the Good News had the power to offer immortality.
In the Gospel, we saw how the disciples were given a glimpse of Jesus’ power and glory - and were filled with fear. This is natural - but St Paul is reminding us that this power and this glory is on our side - Jesus is our saviour. When we are tempted - when we are in distress - He is in it with us - at our side. There is no evil stronger than His power and love.
It is an assurance to take hope from. We have not deserved it - we could not deserve it - but God sent His Son the Beloved into the world so that we might listen to Him - and through His words and actions inherit the eternal life promised to us from the beginning of time.
What does it mean for me?
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