Second Sunday of Lent (Year B)


“Mountain is a place of ascent – not only outward but also inward ascent”

Second Sunday of Lent (Year B)

Genesis 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son. Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing— all this because you obeyed my command.”

Romans 8: 31B-34

Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn? Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised— who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Mark 9: 2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

May Tam

Today’s readings narrate two pivotal events. First is the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his only son and second, the episode of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The former had made Abraham the Father of Faith (rf Romans 4:16) and brought blessing, not only to the Jewish people, but also for all the nations of the earth. This blessing was finally realized in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus—“the son of Abraham” (Mt.1:1). The latter which was accounted in all three Synoptic Gospels revealed what kind of blessing it is: the heavenly splendor when the old (represented by Moses and Elijah) and the new (represented by the three apostles) people of God are brought into the communion of the Blessed Trinity in eternal glory through Jesus the mediator.

These two events happened on a mountain. It was not a coincidence but meant to be symbolic. It was an ancient idea that mountains were places “closer to God” who was believed to dwell in heaven (the sky) and where God often revealed Himself (Gen 22:1-14; Ex 3:1-2, 19, 24:12-18; 1 Kings 18:1-46, 19:11-13). But apart from their natural physicality, Pope Benedict XVI says that “mountain is a place of ascent—not only outward but also inward ascent” that is, they can be sites for transcendent spiritual experiences. In order to reach the summits, one has to stay focused and be prepared to face the challenge and even sacrifice that may arise while ascending. Yet the exercise liberates us from our “burden of everyday life” and can be transformative for “[they] offer a view of the broad expanse of creation and its beauty”. They lift us out of the mundane concerns to a divine reality. It is an ascent of faith. In the case of Abraham, he passed the test of faith. In the case of the apostles, Jesus prepared them for the test of faith.

Besides the many theophanic stories in the Bible associated with mountains, mountains played a starring role in Jesus’ life too. They were His sanctuary where He prayed (Mt 14:23; Mk 6:46; Lk 6:12) and sought solitude to be with His Father (Jn 6:15). They were His ambo where He preached and taught (Mt 5; Mk 3:13). They were His charitable quarter where He showed His loving providence (Mt 15:29-39; Jn 6:3-13). They were His victorious ground where He defeated Satan’s temptation (Mt 4:8-11; Lk 4:5-8). They were His merciful seat where He died on the Cross (Mt 27:33; Mk 15:22; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:17) and they were His glorious throne where He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:10-12).

Today Jesus takes His apostles with Him once again to His favorite place, the mountain. He reveals to them His true identity and comforts them with a glimpse of the future glory before His impending death. He invites us to go with Him too. Which mountain will you accompany Him? Which one will you stand on?

N.B. All quotations are taken from Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth (from the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration) P. 309.

May Tam

May Tam, Bachelor of Social Science (University of Hong Kong), Master of Theological Studies (University of Toronto)


乙年 四旬期第二主日


「山是提升的地方, 不僅是外在的,也是內在的提升」

乙年 四旬期第二主日

創世紀 22:1-2,9,10-13,15-18


羅馬書 8:31-34


馬爾谷福音 9:2-10


May Tam

今天的讀經敘述兩件關鍵事情。 第一件是亞巴郎獻獨生子,第二件是耶穌顯聖容。 前者使亞巴郎成為信德之父 (參閱 羅4:16),不僅使猶太人,更使普世萬民蒙受祝福。 這祝福最終由「亞巴郎之子」(瑪1:1) 耶穌, 從他 的苦難、死亡、及復活中實現了。 耶穌顯聖容在三部對觀福音中都有記載,顯示出的祝福就是:舊的 (以梅瑟和厄里亞為代表) 及新的 (以三位宗徒為代表) 天主子民,以耶穌為中保,與永受光榮的天主聖三共融於天上的神聖光輝中。

這兩件事都發生在山上。 這不是一個巧合,而是有象徵性意義的。 根據古老的想法,山是更[接近天主」 的地方,人相信天主是居住在天堂 (天空),也是上主經常顯露自己的地方 (創22:1-14;出3:1-2,19,24:12-18;列上18:1-46,19:11-13) 。 但是,山除了是大自然之物外,教宗本篤十六世說,「山是提升的地方,不僅是外在的,也是內在的提升」,也就是說,在山上,可能得到超凡的屬靈經驗。 為了到達山峰,登山時,人必須保持專注,準備面對可能出的挑戰,甚至犧牲。 然而,這鍛煉把我們從「日常生活的擔子中」 解放出來,我們可能因為[在山上看到創世的浩瀚秀麗景色」 而有所改變。 山領我們走出世俗的掛累,進入真實的神聖感覺裡。 這是信仰上的提升。正如亞巴郎在山上通過信仰的考驗。而耶穌則在山上準備祂的宗徒接受信仰的考驗。

在聖經中,除了許多天主顯現的故事都與山有關以外,群山在耶穌的生命中也扮演著重要的角色。 山是衪祈禱的聖所 (瑪 14:23;谷 6:46; 路 6:12) 和祂與聖父獨處之地 (若 6:15)。 也是衪宣講道理和教導信衆的講臺(瑪 5; 谷 3:13)。 山是衪的仁愛之地,在這裡祂施展了祂的護祐和大愛 (瑪 15:29 – 39; 若 6:3-13) 。 山是衪戰勝撒旦誘惑的凱旋地 (瑪 4:8-11; 路 4:5-8)。 山是衪死在十字架時的慈悲席位 (瑪27:33; 谷15:22;路23:33; 若19:17),也是衪升天時的榮耀王座。 (宗1:10-12)

今天耶穌再次帶著他的門徒來到山上,來到衪喜愛的地方。 衪對他們透露自己的真實身份,並且在自己離世前,讓他們瞥見未來的榮耀,來安慰他們。 衪也邀請我們一起同行。 你會伴隨衪往哪座山呢 ? 你將站立在哪一座山上呢?

注意: 所有引句採自教宗本篤十六世的《納匝肋人耶穌:從約旦河受洗至顯聖容》309頁。

May Tam

May Tam, Bachelor of Social Science (University of Hong Kong), Master of Theological Studies (University of Toronto)


乙年 四旬期第二主日


「山是提升的地方, 不仅是外在的,也是内在的提升」

乙年 四旬期第二主日

创世纪 22:1-2,9,10-13,15-18

那时候,天主试探亚巴郎,说:「亚巴郎!」亚巴郎回答说:「我在这里。」天主说:「带你心爱的独生子依撒格,到摩黎雅地方去,在我要指给你的一座山上,将他献为全燔祭。」当他们到了天主指给亚巴郎的地方,亚巴郎便在那里,筑起一座祭坛,摆好木柴,将儿子依撒格捆好,放在祭坛的木柴上。亚巴郎正伸手举刀,要宰献自己的儿子时,上主的使者从天上,对亚巴郎大声说:「亚巴郎!亚巴郎!」亚巴郎回答说:「我在这里。 」使者说:「不可在这孩子身上下手,不要伤害他!我现在知道你实在敬畏天主,因为你为了我,竟然连自己的独生子,也不顾惜。」亚巴郎举目一望,见有一只公绵羊,两角缠在灌木中,于是前去取了那只公绵羊,代替自己的儿子,献为全燔祭。上主的使者由天上,又呼唤亚巴郎说:「我指着自己起誓——上主的断语——因为你做了这事,没有顾惜你的独生子,我必多多降福你,使你的后裔繁多,如同天上的星辰,如同海边的沙粒。你的后裔,必占领他们仇敌的城门;地上万民,都要因你的后裔,而蒙受祝福,因为你听从了我的话。」

罗马书 8:31-34


马尔谷福音 9:2-10


May Tam

今天的读经叙述两件关键事情。第一件是亚巴郎献独生子,第二件是耶稣显圣容。前者使亚巴郎成为信德之父 (参阅 罗4:16),不仅使犹太人,更使普世万民蒙受祝福。这祝福最终由「亚巴郎之子」(玛1:1) 耶稣, 从他 的苦难、死亡、及复活中实现了。耶稣显圣容在三部对观福音中都有记载,显示出的祝福就是:旧的(以梅瑟和厄里亚为代表) 及新的(以三位宗徒为代表) 天主子民,以耶稣为中保,与永受光荣的天主圣三共融于天上的神圣光辉中。

这两件事都发生在山上。这不是一个巧合,而是有象征性意义的。根据古老的想法,山是更[接近天主」 的地方,人相信天主是居住在天堂(天空),也是上主经常显露自己的地方(创22:1-14;出3:1-2,19 ,24:12-18;列上18:1-46,19:11-13) 。但是,山除了是大自然之物外,教宗本笃十六世说,「山是提升的地方,不仅是外在的,也是内在的提升」,也就是说,在山上,可能得到超凡的属灵经验。为了到达山峰,登山时,人必须保持专注,准备面对可能出的挑战,甚至牺牲。然而,这锻炼把我们从「日常生活的担子中」 解放出来,我们可能因为[在山上看到创世的浩瀚秀丽景色」 而有所改变。山领我们走出世俗的挂累,进入真实的神圣感觉里。这是信仰上的提升。正如亚巴郎在山上通过信仰的考验。而耶稣则在山上准备祂的宗徒接受信仰的考验。

在圣经中,除了许多天主显现的故事都与山有关以外,群山在耶稣的生命中也扮演着重要的角色。山是衪祈祷的圣所 (玛 14:23;谷 6:46; 路 6:12) 和祂与圣父独处之地 (若 6:15)。也是衪宣讲道理和教导信众的讲台(玛 5; 谷 3:13)。山是衪的仁爱之地,在这里祂施展了祂的护佑和大爱 (玛 15:29 – 39; 若 6:3-13) 。山是衪战胜撒旦诱惑的凯旋地 (玛 4:8-11; 路 4:5-8)。山是衪死在十字架时的慈悲席位 (玛27:33; 谷15:22;路23:33; 若19:17),也是衪升天时的荣耀王座。 (宗1:10-12)

今天耶稣再次带着他的门徒来到山上,来到衪喜爱的地方。衪对他们透露自己的真实身份,并且在自己离世前,让他们瞥见未来的荣耀,来安慰他们。衪也邀请我们一起同行。你会伴随衪往哪座山呢 ?你将站立在哪一座山上呢?

注意: 所有引句采自教宗本笃十六世的《纳匝肋人耶稣:从约旦河受洗至显圣容》309页。

May Tam

May Tam, Bachelor of Social Science (University of Hong Kong), Master of Theological Studies (University of Toronto)