Dear Friend,
There are times in our lives when God seems to be asking us to make difficult 
and cruel choices, almost impossible ones! How can God be asking something 
difficult from us? Why can’t He be reasonable? If only we could have the 
ecstasy without the agony! Yet we all know that in life there is no escaping 
from the difficult situations that come our way. Only our faith and love can 
transfigure our crosses. May we have a transfiguring weekend! –Fr. Jude
Sun. Refl. 2nd Sunday of Lent “By accepting the Cross will we be transfigured.” 
Gen: 22: 1-2, 9-13, 15-18;          Romans 8: 31-34;          Mark 9: 2-10;
In the first reading we are told that God put Abraham to the test by asking him 
to sacrifice his son Isaac. Surely God could not be asking such an unreasonable 
thing. After all, his son Isaac, was given to him as a promise. How could God 
go back on his promise? The other question we could ask is: How and why was 
Abraham so ready to comply? The only answer to these questions is the 
tremendous faith of Abraham and the passionate love of God. God spared Isaac 
and instead provided the lamb of sacrifice. Although God spared the only son of 
Abraham, He did not intervene to spare His own son Jesus Christ.
Victim or VictorCharles Rayburn has been a victim of cerebral palsy since his 
birth. His only means of communication was an electric typewriter which he 
strikes with a stylus attached to a band around his head. In spite of his 
palsy, Charles Rayburn has published 37 articles in national magazines. One of 
his articles appeared in America Magazine and dealt with the Stations of the 
Cross. Charles Rayburn is a living example of today’s reading about Isaac and 
Jesus. These three figures and the three readings are tied together by a triple 
theme –the theme of Son-ship, Death and Deliverance.Albert Cylwicki in ‘His 
Word Resounds’
In today’s gospel the account of the transfiguration gives us some insight into 
the mystery of Jesus, Son of God. The transfiguration is an epiphany story. 
This is the earliest epiphany story about Jesus, where the veil is lifted and 
his apostles were given a glimpse of his future glory. The chief significance 
of this event was for Jesus himself. It was meant to confirm him in the course 
he had undertaken. But it also benefited the apostles, and it is this that Mark 
emphasizes. On the mountain Elijah and Moses appeared to them representing the 
prophets and the law respectively. Thus Jesus is seen as bringing the law and 
the prophets to fulfillment. We do not know what exactly happened on that 
mountain but it seems Jesus had an intense experience of the presence of God. 
He heard those marvelous words: “You are my beloved Son.” On Tabor Jesus felt 
comforted and affirmed. He knew that the Father was pleased with him and would 
give him all the strength he would need to face whatever lay ahead. With God on 
his side he could face anything. At times, life could be dark for us and we too 
need to hear those reassuring words: “You are my son the beloved, my favour 
rests on you.” People from time to time do affirm us, but their affirmation is 
conditional. “You are good but you need to change your behavior”! “You are good 
but only if you live up to my expectations!” Only God affirms us exactly as he 
affirmed his son Jesus. With him there are no terms and conditions even if we 
are sinners and have failed him. We will always remain the well beloved sons 
and daughters of God. On that mountain the Father affirmed Jesus and that same 
Father is waiting for us to come to him to be affirmed as his well beloved sons 
and daughters. Our problem is that as soon as we run into trouble our faith 
fails us. We think that God has abandoned us. But if we pray we will realize 
that God has not abandoned us, He is always with us. Like Jesus on Tabor we too 
can experience being affirmed by God, we too can be transformed by the power of 
his Spirit, if only we let Him into our lives.
Affirmed by my fatherSr. Helen Prejean is well known in America for her work 
with prisoners on death row. The film Dead Man Walking tells the story of one 
man (Robert) she accompanied during the months leading to his execution. She 
noticed how Robert clung to one of the wardens, who were a kind and fatherly 
figure. She saw this as a cry for a father’s love he had never known. His 
father spent 27 of his 53 years in prison. This led Helen to reflect on the 
beautiful relationship she had with her father. She says, “It has to be one of 
life’s most precious feelings to know that your father is proud of you. I was 
my dad’s scholar, his scribe who kept the travel diary on family vacations. He 
always had a special tone in his voice when he introduced me to friends and 
colleagues: “And this is my little daughter, Helen.” In the presence of 
strangers I would fall silent, standing close against him, my hand holding on 
tightly to his. Afterwards I would squeeze his hand tighter than ever and teem 
once more with chatter and questions. A child can sail on to the moon with that 
feeling of security from a father.” Helen Prejean felt she could do anything, 
face anything, on the strength of her father’s love and security. Surely, we 
can do even better knowing God is on our side.Flor McCarthy on ‘New Sunday and 
Holy Day Liturgies’
You are my beloved!You probably have heard of Jean Vanier who set up 
communities for the mentally handicapped. He tells us that in one of those 
communities there was a man named Pierre. One day someone asked, “Pierre, do 
you like praying?” “Yes,” he answered. “And what do you do when you pray?” “I 
listen,” answered Pierre. “And what does God say to you, Pierre?” And this was 
his touching reply, “Pierre, you are my beloved son.”Jean Vanier
“Listen to Him!”Perhaps you have heard of the man who wanted to test his wife’s 
hearing. He stood some distance behind her and said, “Honey, can you hear me?” 
Having received no answer he moved closer and again whispered, “Honey, can you 
hear me?” Again having received no answer he moved right up behind her and 
softly said, “Honey can you hear me?” She replied, “For the third time, yes!” – 
In some ways this story could be analogous to our communication with God. We 
constantly check to see if he is listening in hopes that he will respond to our 
needs. In reality, he hears us, but he has asked us to listen to him as well. 
Lent should be a listening time for each of us. When we learn to listen, our 
lives become obedient lives.John Pichappilly in ‘The Table of the Word’
No Cross, No CrownArthur Ashe, the legendary Afro-American Wimbledon player was 
dying of cancer. He received letters from his fans worldwide, one of which 
read: “Why did God select you for such a dreadful disease?” Ashe replied, “The 
world over, 5 crore children start playing tennis, 50 lakhs learn the game, 5 
lakh turn professional, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5,000 reach Grand Slams, 50 
reach Wimbledon, 4 to the semifinals, 2 to the finals. When I won the Wimbledon 
crown, I never asked God, “Why me?” Today, in pain, I shouldn’t be asking God, 
“Why me?” Wimbledon crown, cancer cross. That’s Christianity!Francis Gonsalves 
in ‘Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds’
Keeping the CommandmentsOnce there was a very sincere man who wished to live a 
holy life. So he went to his rabbi to seek his advice. The rabbi congratulated 
him on his ambition, then asked, ‘How have you been faring so far?’ ‘Quite 
well, I think,’ the man replied. ‘When you say well what do you mean?’ the 
rabbi asked. ‘I haven’t broken any of the commandments,’ the man replied. ‘I 
haven’t taken the Lord’s name in vain. I haven’t dishonored my father or 
mother. I haven’t killed anyone. I haven’t been unfaithful to my wife. I 
haven’t stolen. I haven’t borne false witness against anyone. And I haven’t 
coveted my neighbour’s wife or goods.’ ‘I see,’ said the rabbi. ‘So you haven’t 
broken any of the commandments.’ ‘That’s right, the man replied with pride. 
‘But have you kept the commandments?’ the rabbi asked. ‘What do you mean?’ said 
the man. ‘I mean have you honoured God’s holy name? Have you kept holy the 
Sabbath day? Have you loved and honoured your parents? Have you sought to 
preserve and defend life? When last did you tell your wife that you loved her? 
Have you shared your goods with the poor? Have you defended the good name of 
anyone? When last did you put yourself out to help a neighbour?’ The man was 
taken aback. But to his credit he went away and reflected on what the rabbi had 
said. He realized that up to this time he had been merely intent on avoiding 
wrong-doing. It’s surprising how many people think this is the highest 
criterion of virtue. But the rabbi offered him a new vision of goodness – not 
merely to avoid evil, but to do good. Up to now he had a negative concept of 
goodness. He had given him a new and better compass to guide him, a new and 
more challenging path to follow.Flor McCarthy in ‘Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies’
The Father’s belovedThe story is told of a sister at the shrine of St. Anne de 
Beaupre in Quebec. She saw a distraught mother carrying a tiny child and she 
went to meet her. The woman had come a great distance with the child, the only 
one she could ever have, she thought, and now he had an affliction which the 
doctors said was incurable. The only hope was a miracle, and she had brought 
the child to St. Anne’s to pray for that. The sister accompanied the mother to 
the shrine. “As we prayed” the sister said, “I witnessed the struggle and 
rebellion of this woman refusing to give up her child. Her suffering was 
terrible to see. Yet the miracle came. But it came to the mother, not the 
child. When she left I knew she had offered her child back to God and 
surrendered him as a gift. A few weeks later the news came that the child died. 
But the following Christmas there came a card with the picture of a beautiful 
baby boy, whom the mother had named Michael, the same name she had given to her 
first son. And the mother wrote: “Now I have a son in heaven and a son Michael 
to give me joy on earth.”Emeric Lawrence in ‘Daily Meditations for Lent’
May we hear the Father affirming us saying: “You are my beloved, my favour 
rests on you!”
Fr. Jude Botelho
PS. The stories, incidents and anecdotes used in the reflections have been 
collected over the years from books as well as from sources over the net and 
from e-mails received. Every effort is made to acknowledge authors whenever 
possible. If you send in stories or illustrations I would be grateful if you 
could quote the source as well so that they can be acknowledged if used in 
these reflections.These reflections are also available on my Web site 
www.NetForLife.net Thank you.

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