March 4th, 2012, Second Sunday of Lent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1The story begins with "God put Abraham to the test." Do you believe God puts people to the test? Why or why not? Can you think of examples from the Bible or from your own life? Share those with the group.
What future blessings for your own family and for the Church do you pray God provides? How will you show your faith that God can and will provide these blessings?
Reading 1 Genesis 22:1-2,9,10-13,15-18
Reading 1 ReflectionThe story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac is one of the most dramatic stories in the entire Bible. Why Abraham felt that God was asking him to sacrifice his son we not know. The practice was common in the pagan world and even among some ancient kings of Israel. However, the point of the story is that Abraham trusted God completely.
Before Abraham could harm his son, God stopped him. He commended Abraham's complete devotion and promised to reward him with countless descendants who would be richly blessed throughout the earth. Through Jesus, we know that God is love and never desires the death of any person.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Of all the blessings God has given you, which is the greatest? Why? What do we mean when we say that "God is on our side"? Do we mean that God is against others, such as the members of a rival soccer team or the people of another country? How do we show that we are "on God's side"?
In what way might God be asking you to demonstrate your trust in him right now? How will you respond?
Reading 2 Romans 8:31-34
Reading 2 ReflectionThis second reading is easily compared with the first. We recall that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only beloved son because he thought God asked it. For his faith and trust, Abraham received God's finest blessings. In his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks of another Father who "did not spare his own Son but handed him over for the sake of us all."
That Son, Jesus Christ, now raised from the dead, intercedes with the Father for us. And how can God refuse Jesus anything he asks for us? As Paul insists, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
How do you listen to God's beloved Son?
Discussion Questions for GospelHow are you responding to God's command to "Listen to him" during Lent? What message from Jesus' words or actions do you most want to share with the world? What good can come out of suffering? Explain. How do you show that you care about others who are suffering?
What does the experience of the three disciples tell us about the process of coming to know and believe in Jesus? What has helped your own relationship with Jesus to grow over the past year?
Gospel Mark 9:2-10
Gospel ReflectionThe story of Jesus' Transfiguration on the mountain is a preview of great things to come. With his amazed disciples looking on, Jesus is suddenly dressed in dazzling white and his face shines like the sun. He is speaking with the long-dead prophets Moses and Elijah. These two Old Testament figures represent the Law and the Prophets. They are interrupted by a majestic voice from a cloud. And the voice says that Jesus is God's beloved Son. The bedazzled disciples are told to "Listen to him."
Like us, Peter, James, and John could not understand everything about Jesus overnight. It was only after his death and resurrection that they understood the meaning of his Transfiguration. Only then did they realize what it meant for the Son of Man to rise from the dead.