Second Sunday in Lent - B - February 28, 2021

FIRST READING

Genesis 22:1-12

The book of Genesis presents us with a dilemma in the story of Isaac. God's law abhorred human sacrifice, but Abraham heard the divine command to sacrifice his son. What's more important, God's law or God's will?
1 It happened after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!"

He said, "Here I am."

2 He said, "Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, even Isaac, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of."

3 Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far off. 5 Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go yonder. We will worship, and come back to you." 6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together. 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, "My father?"

He said, "Here I am, my son."

He said, "Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

8 Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they both went together. 9 They came to the place which God had told him of. Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.

11 The angel of YHWH called to him out of the sky, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!"

He said, "Here I am."

12 He said, "Don't lay your hand on the boy, neither do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."

PSALM

Psalm 116

116 celebrated the safe arrival of a pilgrim to the Temple in Jerusalem. It was a thanksgiving hymn that lauded YHWH for rescue even at the point of death.
1 I love YHWH, because he listens to my voice,
and my cries for mercy.
2 Because he has turned his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death surrounded me,
the pains of Sheol got a hold of me.
I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of YHWH:
"YHWH, I beg you, deliver my soul."
5 YHWH is Gracious and righteous.
Yes, our God is merciful.
6 YHWH preserves the simple.
I was brought low, and he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for YHWH has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
and my feet from falling.
9 I will walk before YHWH in the land of the living.
10 I believed, therefore I said,
"I was greatly afflicted."
11 I said in my haste,
"All men are liars."
12 What will I give to YHWH for all his benefits toward me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of YHWH.
14 I will pay my vows to YHWH,
yes, in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of YHWH is the death of his saints.
16 YHWH, truly I am your servant.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid.
You have freed me from my chains.
17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call on the name of YHWH.
18 I will pay my vows to YHWH,
yes, in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of YHWH,
in the midst of you, Jerusalem.

Allelujah!

SECOND READING

Romans 8:31b-34

"If God is with us, who can be against us?" This famous line came from St. Paul's letter to the Romans. This rhetorical question addressed the overwhelming power of God in life, a power so great even death could not get in the way.

Popular Translation:

31b If God is on our side, who is our enemy? 32 God didn't stop his own Son from being killed for us. So, how can he stop himself from giving us everything good, along with Jesus? 33 Who will bring charges against God's favorite people? God is the One who freed us from any charge. 34 Who will say we're guilty? Jesus Christ is our defender. He died and, more important, rose again. He is right at God's side. And he asks favors from his Father for us.

Literal Translation:

31b If God is for us, who (is) against us? 32 (The One) who did not spare (his) own SON, but for all of us gave HIM over, how can he not also give everything to us with HIM? 33 Who will call in (the debts) against the favorites of God? God (is) the (One) making (us) right (before himself). 34 Who (is) the (One) condemning (us)? JESUS CHRIST (is he) the (ONE) having died, but even greater having been raised, who is also at the right (hand) of God, who is also begs (God) for us.

GOSPEL

Mark 9:2-10

Mark's laid out the classic lines and themes of the Transfiguration. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray. There, he was transformed. Moses and Elijah joined him. The three followers witnessed the voice of the Father declaring Jesus his Son. They also heard the divine command, "Listen to him."

Popular Translation:

In front of the other followers, Peter called Jesus the Christ.

2 Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of a high mountain, so they could spent some time alone. There, Jesus changed before their eyes. 3 His clothes became so shiny white that nothing on earth could bleach his clothes that white. 4 Then Elijah and Moses appeared and they talked to Jesus.

5 Peter spoke up, "Teacher! I'm glad we're here. Let's pitch three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6 But he didn't really know what he was talking about because they were so afraid.

7 A cloud appeared that cast a shadow over them. And there was a voice from heaven. "This is the Son I love," the voice said. "Listen to him!"

8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they saw only Jesus there with them. 9 As they came down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one else what you just saw until the Son of Man rises from the dead." 10 They obeyed, but whispered to each other "What does 'rise from the dead' mean?"

Literal Translation:

2 Six days later, JESUS took Peter, James, and John and lead them up a high mountain alone by themselves. HE was changed in front of them. 3 HIS clothes became shiny, very white, as any wool bleach on earth was not able to thus whiten. 4 There appeared to them Elijah with Moses and together they were talking to Jesus.

5 Having answered, Peter said to JESUS, "Rabbi! It is good that we are here. Let us make three tents: one for YOU, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6 For he had not known what he answered, for they were very afraid. 7 There appeared a cloud, overshadowing them; and a voice came from heaven, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to HIM." 8 Suddenly, having looked around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

9 As they descended the mountain, he commanded them so they might not relate what they saw to anyone, until after the Son of Man should rise from the dead. 10 They keep the command, discussing among themselves: "What is (this) 'rising from the dead?'"


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