March 7, 2017
Abraham is known as the “Father of Faith.” He earned this title because of the numerous ways that he put his trust in God. Our first reading marks how Abraham left his homeland in response to God’s call, trusting that God would be with him as he relocated to a land that he did not know. Later, he trusts that God will bring forth a son from his union with his very old wife, Sarah. Still later, he will trust God’s command to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, for whom he longed. Over and over, Abraham trusted in God and God saw in Abraham a person upon whom he could call forth a people. This people, Israel, would be God’s chosen people who would be given a task. Israel was to be a sign in the world of what it is to be in a trusting relationship with God. Of course, this does not mean that Israel is always faithful, but even in its sinfulness, this relationship gives witness to how God will never desert Israel, will never abandon her.
The story of salvation history begins with the story of Abraham and the covenant that God made with him. It continues through the Exodus from slavery in Egypt, through the time of kings such as Saul, David, and Solomon, and through the Exile in Babylon and the return to Jerusalem. Throughout this time, the prophets of Israel looked forward to the “Day of the Lord,” the day in which God would appear no longer through patriarchs and kings and prophets but would reveal God’s very self. Our gospel reading of the Transfiguration is a dramatic exclamation point that God’s promises have been fulfilled to Israel through Jesus.
Our second reading reminds us that this “Day of the Lord” is God’s doing. As Paul writes, “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design.” Paul announces that it is through this appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ that death will be destroyed and life and immortality will be brought to light through this good news. Our Lenten season is a time for us to focus on the ways that we might put sin and death behind us so that we might unite ourselves at Easter with the life and immortality that God reveals to us.