For the complete 2nd Sunday of Lent readings click here.
I graduated from high school with just 123 classmates. I went to an all-boys Catholic college prep school in St. Louis, MO. Needless to say, I knew the other guys in my class really well. Except one guy – Dan the man. I can’t remember Dan’s last name and probably didn’t know it in high school either. Dan had big, thick glasses, wore outdated clothes, and was brilliant in Math and Science. In two years of Junior High and four years of high school, Dan probably said six words total. I’m serious. Gym class, lab groups, class discussion, Dan almost never spoke.
That was until our senior class retreat. On the first night of the four day retreat, Dan gave the opening talk. It was shocking. Dan spoke for over 30 minutes. He explained his non-traditional home life. He shared about who he was. And most astonishing, Dan recalled everything he had witnessed, good and bad, in six years of watching us interact as a group of people. For some of us, it was horrible. It was like having our conscious recall all of our sins against each other. Others felt a sense of relief because we weren’t mentioned, but then realized we also didn’t so anything to help others either.
What none one did was deny Dan’s observations because he spoke the truth, but also, because we knew he didn’t waste words. If he was going to speak, he was going to make it count.
In all the gospels, God only speaks twice. He speaks even less than Dan the man. During the gospel this Sunday we hear one of the few times God actually speaks in the gospels. And when God speaks, he doesn’t say much – just two sentences, eight words. So what does he say?
It’s simple. God says of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” The message couldn’t be more straightforward. Jesus is the Son of God and God loves him very much. God speaks the truth and the rarity of his words gives us extra reason to pause and really pay attention.
So what are supposed to do? Listen to Jesus. This kind of listening isn’t just to “hear,” but rather to listen and obey. It’s the kind of listening we ask of our children. God is asking us to listen to Jesus, and listen by obeying his direction. Are you listening to Jesus? Are you read to listen and obey?
Take 2 minutes to think about how your Lent is going so far. Have you been committed to renewing your faith this Lent? How is your prayer, alms giving, and fasting going? Here in the 2nd week, it is a great time to recommit to whatever Lenten practices we have begun.