You are my Beloved
2nd Sunday of Lent (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

The glory of divinity at times shines through the face of lowly humanity, “He was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white (Mk. 9:3).” This image of the Transfigured Lord is in contrast with the image of the Suffering Servant described by the prophet Isaiah, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Is. 53:4).” The voice of the Father is heard in the transfiguration scene, “This is my beloved Son.” Its counterpart in the suffering servant’s hymn is, “Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up.”

Action starter: You are God’s beloved. Show your real self.

Jesus is the suffering Servant. He is also the transfigured Lord. He is both servant and lord. The transfiguration story reminds us that the Lenten season is a season of transformation. It is a season of renewal. It is an exodus experience, a crossing of the desert - from slavery to freedom. The spiritual exercises of Lent such as fasting and abstinence, prayer, and acts of charity are ways by which we come in contact with our “better self” as well as our dark side. The psychology of Carl Jung speaks of the “shadow” in each one of us. We experience this as our tendency to sin. St. Augustine called this concupiscence.

The good news is, there is also the spark of the divine in each of us. We are created in God’s image and likeness. Just as the Father claimed Jesus as His Beloved Son, so does He claim us as His beloved children. This was made possible by God’s gift of His own Son . In the first reading, God stopped Abraham from offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Yet, God Himself offered Jesus, His Son as a sacrifice. As St. Paul writes in the second reading, “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him. (Rom. 8:31ff).”

Imagine God saying to you this Lent, “You are my beloved. You are in my image. Discover your goodness.” At a time when “being real” is portrayed in songs, television shows, and movies as being rude, bad-mannered, vulgar, and mean it may take some extra effort to show the better real self - the decent, civil, charitable, and kind.

The process of cultivating the God-image in us is also called purification. Lent is a period of purification. It is a period of burnishing the stone so that the sparkling diamond will be revealed.