Praying with Sunday's Scriptures
Editor's note: To help small faith-sharing groups, couples, individuals and others continue the Renew 2000 experience of praying with the Sunday Scriptures, A Diocesan Faith Sharing Writing team has prepared a weekly series for Lent using the Renew model. The series is being distributed to parish leaders and will appear in The Compass the week before that Sunday.
Feb. 20, 2005 -- Second Sunday of Lent
Reading I: Genesis 12:1-4
Reading II: 2 Timothy 1:8-10
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
By Sr. Diane Baumann, ANG
Focus: During the forty days of Lent, we are being transformed into Christ's image.
Opening Prayer: Psalm 33:4-5,18-20,22
Leader: Upright is the word of the Lord, and all the Lord's works are trustworthy.
All: The Lord loves justice and right; of the kindness of the Lord, the earth is full.
Leader: See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness,
All: To deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.
Leader: Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield.
All: May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.
Scripture Sharing: Read the scriptures aloud. Pause for a moment between the readings. Each group member is invited to share an idea from one of the readings, which had an impact on him or her.
Reflection: Just as Abraham was promised many descendants, so many that they would form a nation, so too the Church is promised many descendants, who come to us through Baptism or the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Abram is asked to place total trust in God's promise of a new land, and those in the RCIA process are called to believe that it is truly God leading them to the "new land" of faith, hope and love. Timothy challenges us to bear our "share of hardship for the Gospel," not through our own will power, but with the strength that only God can give. And, in the gospel of the Transfiguration, we are reminded that during the forty days of Lent, we are being transformed into the shining image of Christ, with clothes as "white as light." Our white clothes are our baptismal garments, worn by some of us for a long time, and for others, soon to be put on at the Easter Vigil.
1. Tell about a promise you feel God has made to you - and fulfilled. Is there a promise you are waiting to have fulfilled?
2. Describe a time when you have had to "bear your share of hardship" for the gospel. If you feel you have not had to bear any hardship for the gospel, does that concern you? Why/why not?
3. When have you felt yourself, or observed someone else, being transformed into an image of Christ, giving light to others?
Suggested Action Response
1. Like Abraham, we have people in our communities who have traveled from a distant land. How can your group extend a welcome to area newcomers in a concrete way?
2. Make a phone call or send an email or note to someone you know, who is bearing a hardship for the gospel at this time in his or her life.
3. Decide how your faith-sharing group will support those in your parish community (or those connected with your group members) who are preparing for their initiation sacraments.
Closing Prayer: (Individuals offer their prayer intentions.)
Lord, God, during the Transfiguration, a voice came from the cloud: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." We hear you say to each of us, "This is my beloved son. This is my beloved daughter." May we open ourselves to your transforming power all throughout this Lenten season, that we might become an image of Christ. Amen.
(Sr. Baumann is the director of religious education at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Neenah, and a member of the Diocesan Writing Team for Faith Sharing Sessions, 2005.)