Second Sunday in Lent
Points to note
The readings for Lent this year are the oldest set of readings in the Christian church. It was used in the days of old to prepare catechumens for baptism. In those days, it takes two years before a catechumen could be baptised.
The readings for Lent are structured as a journey, a journey of faith not just for the catechumens but for all the faithful as we prepare to renew our baptismal cleansing at Easter. The journey begins with the testing of Jesus in the desert on the first Sunday of Lent. This Sunday, we see the desired goal of our Lenten journey.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
From the bright cloud the Father’s voice was heard:
‘This is my Son, the beloved. Listen to him.’
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Remind the children about the new season of the Christian calendar that we are in.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
All: Glory to you O Lord
(Mt 17: 1-9)
Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was changed; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus. “Lord,” he said, “it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.” When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. “Stand up,” he said, “do not be afraid.” And when they opened their eyes, they saw no one but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain, Jesus gave them this order, “Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”
This is the Word of the Lord
This discussion should be kept short if the bulk of the discussions takes place before the reading.
Do you remember your baptism? Somebody made some promises during your baptism. Maybe they don’t remember but their parents ought to. I have reproduced the promises on the back page.
Sometimes the promises are not kept and we become miserable and are far away from God. Lent is the season for us to recall our misery when we do not keep the promises we made to God and we say sorry to him. Before we can say sorry to him, we will have to prepare ourselves to accept him through the extra prayers and the sacrifices that we make during Lent. After we say sorry to God and have been cleansed, we renew our promises and try to keep them. (Some of these concepts will have to be explained carefully.) When this happens, we are said to be changed to be like Christ as we have been when we were baptised.
Link this up with the story of the Transfiguration and how Jesus' face shone and his clothes become white. This happens when we go for confession - we are lightened from our sins and so the face will shine as we will be beaming with happiness. White clothes are traditionaly worn by penitents in the early Church, when penitence was peformed publicly. Penitents were to wear plain white clothes and, in some churches, stand at the doors of the church to ask forgiveness from everyone who comes into the church. Explain that Lent is the period of penitence, which reconciles us with God, with our community and with ourselves. In Lent, there are penitential services at which there would be a number of priests to whom we can go for confessions to allow ourselves to be reconciled.