Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings Feb. 21, 2016

"Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." -- Philippians 3:20

“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” — Philippians 3:20

 

Feb. 21, Second Sunday of Lent

      Cycle C. Readings: 

      1) Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18 

      Psalm 27:1, 7-9, 13-14 

      2) Philippians 3:17-4:1 or Philippians 3:20-4:1 

      Gospel: Luke 9:28b-36

 

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

I have a 2-year-old nephew who currently lives in Shanghai with his parents. He was born in China, but because my brother and his wife are U.S. citizens, their son received the full privileges and benefits of American citizenship even before his first glimpse of the United States; he only needed to obtain the necessary documentation.

When his parents’ residence in China ends, little Mateo, already the proud owner of a U.S. passport, will be welcomed into his “new” homeland and bound by its laws and obligations.

There’s a different kind of citizenship described in today’s readings, and we’re given a preview of it, beginning in Genesis. Abram, a sojourner and a foreigner, is promised more descendants than he can count and the possession of a land that is not his birthright.

Although no documents are signed, there is the solemn enactment of a covenant by which God binds himself to fulfill his promises. Before he even sees the land that God has given to him, Abram becomes its citizen.

In the Gospel, Peter, James and John saw the two great figures of their past, Moses and Elijah, on the mount of the Transfiguration. But Jesus also showed them a glimpse of their future citizenship. It was as if a curtain was pulled back and they were able to see a realm so glorious that they were overwhelmed, captivated, enthralled and frightened all at the same time.

St. Paul reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven” and that “he will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.” Although we haven’t earned its rights and privileges, our citizenship has already been accomplished by Jesus’ “exodus” in Jerusalem — his suffering and death on a cross.

We are invited to inhabit a promised realm we have yet to see, living under its obligations while we “wait for the Lord with courage.” Like the psalmist, we can assert, “I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.”

It’s a land we don’t need documentation to enter — only trust that the God who fulfilled his promise to Abram, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James and John will fulfill his promises to you and me.

QUESTIONS:

When have you lived more like an “enemy of the cross of Christ” than a citizen of Christ’s kingdom? What is the greatest obstacle to seeing God’s promises fulfilled in you?

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