Above photograph: thanks to Matt Botsford
2nd Sunday in Lent
Reflection on the Gospel-2nd Sunday of Lent Year B (Mark 9:2-10)
The wilderness was the geographical and key symbolic focus of last week’s gospel story. This week, the focus is a mountain. Wilderness and mountain remind us that God’s Earth itself is the locus of mystery and grace, the place of Earth-divine encounter. The mountain, like the wilderness, links Mark’s story of Jesus with the story of the Israelites. Moses’ encounter with God on the mountain of Sinai was a defining moment in the life of the people: the Israelites entered into covenant with God at this mountain and received the Law that was to guide their lives as a people.
Some centuries later, at a time of crisis in Israel’s life, the prophet Elijah returned to this mountain and experienced the presence of God in the gentle breeze. In the gospel passage for today, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain and is “transfigured” before them and “his clothes become dazzling white”. In the Book of Revelation, white clothes come to symbolise the clothing of martyrs, of those who die for their faith.
Elijah and Moses, the key prophetic figures of Israel, appear and enter into dialogue with Jesus, God’s definitive prophet. The “transfiguration” seems to point to a time in Jesus’ ministry when he accepts his likely fate. If he continues to challenge oppression and injustice, he is certain to encounter opposition, even death. He struggles with that realisation in the “wilderness” and comes to terms with what it involves on this unidentified mountain.
The voice of God reaffirms the identity of Jesus that was announced in the opening words of the gospel and proclaimed at his baptism in the Jordan. It calls for a response from the disciples who have ascended the mountain in his company: “Listen to him”.
In the two preceding scenes, Jesus has spoken of the suffering that he and his followers will have to face. These words are crucial to an understanding, not only of Jesus, but of what it means to follow him. They fall on deaf ears. Peter wants to hold on to the experience of glory, to “make tents” and settle down. He prefers not to face the difficulties involved in fidelity to the mission. But that is not the way of discipleship.
Like Jesus and his companions, we too need the occasional glimpse of final victory. We also need the courage and the good sense to return from the mountain and follow through on the path that brings life, despite the pain. We can feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges facing us and by the opposition we sometimes experience. Vaccines for Covid-19 are in process of changing our world. They have a crucial role to play in combatting infection, in casting out fear and restoring life.
We too have a role to play. We must “listen” to the underlying causes of disease and come to terms with the costs involved in maintaining the struggle for a sustainable, safe, and peace-filled world.
-Veronica Lawson RSM
The Pope's prayer intention - February 2021
Pohutukawa Coast Prayer Group
People from various churches are gathering to pray at St Mark's Anglican Church, 102 Maraetai Drive, Maraetai, Thursday mornings 7am. Open to all.
This group will meet via Zoom while present restrictions are in place.
Please contact Vivienne Gosbee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join in.
Caring Group to help our community
They'll know we are Christians by our love. And one way we can show our Christian love is to care for one another, especially in times of need or distress.
Several people have already volunteered their services to start the Group but we need more. We also need to know if there is anyone who needs help from the Caring Group. So, if you would like to be a volunteer who may be called upon from time to time please contact Glenis Clapham (ph: 09 536 6305) or Kathie McNabney (ph: 09 530 8130). If you need some help or know of someone from our community who needs help please let Glenis or Kathie know.
Have you considered joining the parish planned giving programme? No more searching through your purse or wallet at collection time. You will be provided with a set of envelopes which need only be placed in the basket with your donation inside. And best of all at the end of each tax year you will receive a statement of your contributions so you can make a claim on your tax return.
Why not join up now. Contact the parish office or follow the link below for further information. Ph 5348710
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How giving a little can mean a lot
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
There are always people in need, sometimes long term, sometimes short term, sometimes in an emergency. The parish Food Bank, run by the Howick branch of the SVDP society, helps many families who find themselves in need of basic food items. Through supporting this we are putting into action the Church's principles of Social Justice: Human Dignity, Preferential Option for the Poor, the Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Stewardship and Participation.
When you come to Mass at Beachlands try to bring one food item, a packet or can that can be added to the Food Bank, and place it in the basket on the table when you come in.
Giving a little can mean such a lot.
Please continue to keep Eileen Gallagher, Allan Saunders, Francis McNabney and other members of our community in your prayers.