To risk or not to risk

by Paul Yeung

Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 12:1-4A

The LORD said to Abram: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,and I will bless you; I will make your name great,so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him.

2 Timothy 1:8B-10

Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Matthew 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,“Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here,one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold,a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,then from the cloud came a voice that said,“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying,“Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes,they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,Jesus charged them,“Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Lenten season serves as an invitation to us to change. But changes are not always welcome in our comfortable lives.

The greatest risk in our faith journey is to not take any risks, and to be too comfortable with the status quo. Yet, only under one condition should these risks be taken: when we follow Jesus and “listen to Him” (Mt 17:5). If we follow our own will, those risks could be disastrous.

We need to follow the footsteps of Abraham, our father in faith, in responding to God's call. His prompt act indicated his complete trust in the Lord. God's call always challenges us to step out of our comfort zone by giving up things we deem important, leaving our known and secure territory, and stepping into the unknown. That is the most effective way we can learn to rely on Him completely, just like what Abram did following strictly what the Lord had told him. If we have the wisdom to look beyond, we know this is not a risk, but a way to allow God's power to be manifested in our lives. To those who follow Him and heed His voice, God will not abandon them but will surely walk with them. He knows we are weak. Like the experience of the three apostles in the Transfiguration of Christ, God prepares us to embrace the cross we are to bear by different means, and through which He gives us a glimpse of His divine glory, an anticipation of Christ's eternal glory which we are to share. Through this, God wants to strengthen our faith and gives us the hope to carry on. This heavenly experience and all His graces are our sources of consolation in times of troubles.

“Listen to him!” Let the word from God the Father continue to resound in our hearts. Follow Him and our faithful Lord will not fail to deliver His promises to us. As St. Paul says, “it is the same Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Rom 8:16-17)

Let us follow Jesus and go out into the deep with a leap of faith!