Second Sunday of Lent (A)
March 05, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.




O God, who have commanded us
to listen to your beloved Son,
be pleased, we pray,
to nourish us inwardly by your word,
that, with spiritual sight made pure,
we may rejoice to behold your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son
revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that
we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be
strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his
likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)

O God,
in the transfiguration of your Son
you confirmed the mysteries of the faith
by the witness of Moses and Elijah; and in the voice from the cloud
you foreshadowed our adoption as your children.
Make us, with Christ, heirs of your glory,
and bring us to enjoy its fullness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen. (BCW)

First Reading Gn 12:1-4a 1

The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
   and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
   and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
   so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
   and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
   shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him.

Responsorial Psalm 33:4-5,18-19,20,22 

 R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


Upright is the word of the LORD,
   and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
   of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.

See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
   upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
   and preserve them in spite of famine.

Our soul waits for the LORD,
   who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
   who have put our hope in you.



Let the nations know that God is your name; you alone are the Most High over all the earth. V/. O my God, sweep them away like whirling dust, like chaff vbefore the wind.

Second Reading 2 Tm 1:8b-10 2 

Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
   with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,
   not according to our works
   but according to his own design
   and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
   but now made manifest
   through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
   who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
   to light through the gospel.

 Verse Before The Gospel Cf. Mt 17:5



You have caused the earth to quake, O Lord, you have rent it open.  V/. Repair its breaches, for it totters. V/. May your chosen ones escape the menacing bow and be delivered.

Gospel Mt 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
   and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
   his face shone like the sun
   and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
   conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
   “Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
   one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
   a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
   then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
   listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
   and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
   “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
   they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
   Jesus charged them,
   “Do not tell the vision to anyone
   until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Reflection Questions:

Have you ever been called by the Lord to leave “your country and your kindred?

Are there times when your faith has been a source of embarrassment?

Where do you most hope for transformation in your life?

Catena Nova

Jesus took the three apostles up into the mountain for three reasons: first, to show them the glory of his divinity: then to declare himself Israel’s redeemer as he had already foretold by the prophets; and thirdly to prevent the apostles being scandalized at seeing him soon afterward enduring the human suffering which he had freely accepted for our sake. (St. Ephrem the Syrian)

In the presence of chosen witnesses the Lord unveiled his glory. He invested his bodily appearance with such splendor that his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as snow. This is the body he shares with us! You see, the primary purpose of this transfiguration was to remove from our hearts the scandal of the Cross, the one we have to bear with Him. He reveals the hidden glory that God gives. This is to prevent faith from being shaken by the experience of self-abasement and suffering. He underwent it voluntarily and we by the Providence of God. Why did he do all this? He was laying the foundations for the Church. The change which we are to receive fully in resurrection is revealed in order to lay the foundations for the hope we have as Church. The change we see in Christ is one the entire Church will receive. We need to be schooled in looking forward to the change, the glory, and the new life seen in Christ. (Pope St. Leo the Great)

That same Inscrutable Light shone and was mysteriously manifest to the Apostles and the foremost of the Prophets at that moment, when (the Lord) was praying. This shows that what brought forth this blessed sight was prayer, and that the radiance occurred and was manifest by uniting the mind with God, and that it is granted to all who, with constant exercise in efforts of virtue and prayer, strive with their mind towards God. True beauty, essentially, can be contemplated only with a purified mind. To gaze upon its luminance assumes a sort of participation in it, as though some bright ray etches itself upon the face. (St. Gregory Palamas)

O sweet gentle light! O principle and foundation of our salvation! Because in the light you saw our need, in this same light we see your eternal goodness, and knowing it, we love it.  O union and bond of you our Creator with your creature, and of your creature with you our Creator! With the cord of your charity you have bound us, and in your light you have given us light. So if we open the eye of our understanding with a will to know you, we know you, for your light enters into every soul who opens the gate of her will. For the light stands at the soul’s gate, and as soon as the gate is opened to it, the light enters, just like the sun that knocks at the shuttered window and, as soon as it is opened, comes into the house. So the soul has to have a will to know, and with that will she has to open her understanding’s eye, and then you, true Sun, enter the soul and flood her with the light that is yourself. And once you have entered, what do you do, light of compassion, within the soul? You dispel the darkness, and give her light. (St. Catherine of Siena)

Beneath our individual strivings towards spiritualization, the world slowly accumulates, starting with the whole of matter, that which will make of it the Heavenly Jerusalem or the New Earth.... The only human embrace capable of worthily enfolding the divine is that of all men opening their arms to call down and welcome the fire. The only subject ultimately capable of mystical transfiguration is the whole of mankind forming a single body and a single soul in charity.... We shall never know all that the Incarnation expects of the world’s potentialities. We shall never put enough hope in the growing unity of mankind. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

The Sunday of the Transfiguration follows the Sunday of the temptation; that is full of meaning. Temptation stands at the beginning of the way of pain, and surrounds its continuance. It seeks to draw the soul away from the saving passion. If the soul holds out, it will win salvation: the vision of the transfigured Lord and its own divinization in union with him. (Sr. Aemiliana Löhr) 
Christianity does not reject matter. Rather, bodiliness is considered in all its value in the liturgical act whereby the human body is disclosed in its inner nature as a temple of the Spirit and is united with the Lord  Jesus, who himself took a body for the world’s salvation…. The liturgy reveals that the body through the mystery of the Cross, is in the process of transfiguration, pneumatization: on Mount Tabor Christ showed his body radiant, as the Father wants it to be again. Cosmic reality also is summoned to give thanks because the whole universe is called to recapitulation in Christ the Lord…. To those who seek a truly meaningful relationship with themselves and with the cosmos, so often disfigured by selfishness and greed, the liturgy reveals the way to the harmony of the new man, and invites him to respect the Eucharistic potential of the created world. That world is destined to be assumed in the Eucharist of the Lord, in his Passover, present in the sacrifice of the altar. (Pope St. John Paul II)


Reversal of Misfortune

     I live in Buffalo Bills country where the story of Damar Hamlin has riveted attention not only in Western New York but the entire country.  In early January this 6ft, 200 lb., 24-year old safety suffered a cardiac arrest after making a tackle during a Monday Night Football game in Cincinnati.  Thanks to quick action on the field by trainers and paramedics who administered CPR and a defibrillator he survived the medical emergency without neurological damage.   To use imagery from the first two Sundays of Lent — albeit in reverse — Hamlin went from mountaintop to desert in an instant.
     I think that’s one reason for placing these two scenes – Christ in the desert and Christ on the mountaintop -- side by side at the start of Lent.  No matter in which order we might experience them, our lives tend to go from trial to glory, from basking in light to scorched desolation – sometimes suddenly, sometimes gradually.  These alternating rhythms tend to mark the passing seasons of our own experience right alongside the seasons of the church.
     Such is the human condition, no?  Formed from the clay of the earth, yet we possess the breath of life, poured into us by the Spirit of God.  Made in the image and likeness of the Creator, yet we are deprived of God’s glory inasmuch as all have sinned.  Endowed with gifts of mind and heart, we are little less than gods, yet there lurks in us a fallen nature whose downward pull makes us so often seem more beastly than godly.  The contradictions that mark our lives are much like the contrasting scenes of Christ’s temptations in the wilderness placed side by side with his transfiguration.
     So as we are carried forward another step on our Lenten journey, the liturgy helps us feel this beat of contradiction to which we walk.  The tempo is set by the movement from desert to mountain.  One Sunday we are with Jesus in the barren outback of the Judean desert, confronting evil in its many guises, and the next we are on Mt. Tabor exclaiming with Peter how good it is to be here. 
     And oh how the pace drags when we find ourselves living in an arid waste! The people of  Ukraine, Turkey and Syria are living there as we speak, their parched throats crying out for peace, justice and relief.  Our own poor, homeless, and victimized citizens reside there too.  Desert winds blow our way as well when illness strikes, hardship comes knocking, or death makes a visit.  The searing, waterless winds bringing loss in their wake. The stinging sand in those gales blinding us to God’s presence.
     Like Abram called suddenly from a secure life in the land of his kinsfolk (I), uprooted in old age from all that was familiar, told to start over again by a God slow to fulfill incredible promises — we too, for all our efforts, seem repaid with a lifeless, hungry desert.
     And yet, if you notice, there is movement and the pace is quickening.  Our feet are not dragging.  We are traveling from desert to mountain.  Where Jesus is not tempted or hungry, or all so human.  He is transfigured, with face shining, and clothes dazzling.  Finally, some light to see by.
     Take a look around.   Three years ago this month, we were on lockdown due to a looming pandemic and now light at the end of a long tunnel shines upon us.  And there could be light in our own deserts too.  Recent reports suggest Damar Hamlin may play football again. Even a priest like myself who sometimes wonders if the church will survive the current crisis, sees light when today, in cathedrals all over the world bishops are welcoming people who will receive the Easter sacraments as the Rite of Election is celebrated. Yes, the wastelands we live in, with barrenness of every sort, can find light to see by on this mountain.  It was made manifest through the appearance of our Savior [who] destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (II).
     For desert and mountain, you see, foretell Cross and Resurrection.  The journey’s way and journey’s end follow the same two-step rhythm.  With a voice speaking of a beloved Son telling us, Listen to him (G).  He will show us the way: from Abraham and Sarah, to Moses and Elijah, to the apostles and finally to us -- the way of faith.
     Like that bright cloud that descended on Mt. Tabor, such faith envelops the contradictions of light and darkness, sin and grace, death and life.  And like that cloud faith both reveals and conceals what meaning the contradictions that mark our lives could have, all the while trusting they can find in God alone their resolution.  If only we possess a spiritual sight made pure (Collect), to see all things by the new light of faith.  Then we will raise our downcast eyes, turned to the ground in fear, and look up, to see...only Jesus, touching us, and bidding us, Rise, and do not be afraid (G).

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may be transfigured more and more into the image and likeness of Christ.

For the grace to listen: that we may hear the voice of Christ in prayer, events, and relationships so that we may respond more fully to God's invitation.

For all who are facing a crisis, loss, or low points in their lives: that they may experience the transforming grace of God and grow in their trust of God to bring forth a new beginning and an abundant life.

For all the descendants of Abraham: that Jews, Muslims, and Christians will honor all that we share in common and work together to overcome the evil that ensnares human hearts.

For all who share in the sufferings of Christ: that the Spirit of God will fill with courage those who are persecuted for their faith and make fruitful their witness to the Gospel.

For all who have experienced violence: that God will heal their pain, comfort those who are grieving, and help them experience God’s presence each day.

For disruption of the drug trade: that God will expose the harm caused by illicit drugs, guide teachers and youth ministers in helping youth address challenges, and guide officials in developing policies to combat the drug trade.

For the gift of peace: that God will turn hearts from violence, bring an end to the war in Ukraine, and open new opportunities for dialogue.

Holy God,
from the dazzling cloud
you revealed Jesus in glory
as your beloved Son.
During these forty days
enlighten your Church with the bright glory of your presence.
Inspire us by your word
and so transform us into the image of the risen Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
holy and mighty God for ever and ever.
Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

 Offertory Chant


Offertory Hymn

Jesus, on the mountain peak,
stands alone in glory blazing.
Let us, if we dare to speak,
join the saints and angels praising.

Praise and glory, praise and glory,
praise and glory to our Lord!
Let us, if we dare to speak,
join the saints and angels praising.

Trembling at his feet we saw
Moses and Elijah speaking.
All the prophets and the law
shout through them
their joyful greeting:

Praise and glory, praise and glory,
praise and glory to our Lord!
All the prophets and the law
shout through them
their joyful greeting.

Swift the cloud of glory came,
God, proclaiming in its thunder,
Jesus as the Son by name!
Nations, cry aloud in wonder:

Praise and glory, praise and glory,
praise and glory to our Lord!
Jesus as the Son by name:
nations, cry aloud in wonder.

Jesus is the chosen one,
living hope of ev’ry nation,
hear and heed him, ev’ryone;
sing, with earth and all creation:

Praise and glory, praise and glory,
praise and glory to our Lord!
Hear and heed him, ev’ryone;
sing with earth and all creation.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn


Transform us as you, transfigured,
Stood a part on Tabor's height.
Lead us up our sacred mountains,
Search us with revealing light.
Lift us from where we have fallen,
Full of questions, filled with fright.
Transform us as you, transfigured,
Once spoke with those holy ones.
We, surrounded by the witness
Of those saints whose work is done,
Live in this world as your Body,
Live in this world as your Body,
Chosen daughters, chosen sons.
Transform us as you, transfigured,
Would not stay within a shrine.
Keep us from our great temptation
Time and truth we quickly bind.
Lead us down those daily pathways
Where our love is not confined.