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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Looby

Second Sunday of Lent 2024

"I have to get off of this mountain!" (scene from Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1" starring Tom Cruise.)

The Bible can be a challenging book to understand at times. One story that has always troubled me is the one from Genesis where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. 

It’s a story about faith and obedience that can be difficult to comprehend. How could a loving God ask someone to do such a thing? And what kind of man would agree to it? 

These are questions that have puzzled many people, myself included.

But upon deeper reflection, I’ve come to see this story as not so much about sacrifice as it is about profound trust and faith in God’s promises. 

It’s a testament to Abraham’s belief in God’s goodness and faithfulness, even when God’s ways are beyond our understanding.

In a similar vein, the Gospel of Mark presents us with the Transfiguration of Jesus—a moment of divine revelation that affirms Jesus’ identity as the beloved Son and foreshadows His resurrection. 

This event is not just a demonstration of Jesus’ divine glory but also a call to the disciples, and to us, to listen to Him and to prepare our hearts for the path that lies ahead.

I recently watched the latest Mission Impossible movie, “Dead Reckoning Part 1.” 

Toward the end of the film, the protagonist Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, is racing against time to retrieve a key with the power to either save or destroy the world. 

He’s riding a motorcycle through the mountains of Europe, and the key is in a runaway train.

All of a sudden, Ethan comes to a sudden stop at the edge of a high cliff. Below him, he sees the runaway train approaching. It’s here that Ethan realizes the gravity of his situation and declares, “I have to get off this mountain!”

As we journey through this season of Lent, reflecting on the profound trust and faith of Abraham and the disciples' awe at the Transfiguration, we are also reminded of the "impossible" calls God places in our own lives. 

Forgiving someone who has deeply wounded us, maintaining trust in God during the storms of life, and undergoing the deep, personal transformation to which God calls each of us—these are the mountains we are asked to climb. 

They are the cliffs at which we find ourselves hesitating, wondering if we can truly "get off the mountain" and follow God's path for us.

Yet, just as Ethan Hunt realized the gravity of his mission at the edge of a cliff, understanding that the impossible had to be made possible, we too are called to embrace these challenges with faith. 

It's a faith that does not ignore the depth of our pain or the height of our obstacles but confronts them with the assurance of God's presence and promise.

In this Lenten season, let us remember that the Transfiguration is not merely a historical event but a present reality that offers us hope and courage. 

The same God who revealed His glory on the mountain, who provided a ram for Abraham at the moment of greatest need invites us to trust in Him through our most challenging moments.

May we approach the "impossible" aspects of our lives with a renewed sense of purpose and faith, knowing that with God, all things are possible. 

May our Lenten journey be marked by moments of profound forgiveness, unwavering trust, and transformative growth. 

And may we find, at the end of this season, that we have not only come down from the mountain but have been changed by the journey, ready to embrace the joy of Easter with hearts full of gratitude and hope.

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