Our Lady Queen of Heaven
Catholic Church, Harwich, Essex

Second and Third Sunday of Lent 25 February and 3rd March 2024

Second Sunday of Lent (Mark 9:2-10)

It is an ancient tradition that the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is read on the Second Sunday of Lent. To understand this gospel and its place in the early days of Lent we need to observe that this experience comes as Jesus begins his journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. Even though Jesus foresees his death and resurrection, he remains determined to go to Jerusalem where he will face arrest, trial and crucifixion. The disciples accompany him in a state of reluctance and bewilderment.

The strange vision gives the disciples a glimpse of the future which lies beyond suffering and death. Both Moses and Elijah are said in ancient writings to have been taken up to live in the presence of God. Their testimony confirms the hope of the resurrection. God’s voice recalls the baptism scene as once again Jesus is proclaimed to be the beloved Son of God. There the Father had commended him as Jesus, the sinless one, began his ministry by sharing in the baptism ‘for the forgiveness of sins’. Now the Father again approves of the Son as he courageously begins his journey to the place of martyrdom.

What does this story teach you as the season of Lent progresses?

What is the most important feature of the story in your understanding?

Let us pray for,all Christians that we may keep sight of the hope of resurrection.

Let us pray for all those preparing to be baptised at Easter.


Third Sunday of Lent (John 2:13-25)

One of the features of the Gospel of John is that Jesus is frequently found in Jerusalem. The story about the ‘cleansing of the temple’ is placed by this evangelist at the start of Jesus’ ministry, while in the other gospels it comes as a trigger for Jesus’ arrest. The dialogue with the Jews about ‘the sanctuary that was his body’ is only found in John’s gospel.

Jesus comes to bring a new age, a new time, a new form of worship. He is the Word among us. He reveals the way to God. It is not therefore surprising that when Jesus causes disruption in the temple the conversation shifts to the significance of the temple, and to the significance of his coming.

Jesus peaks in terms which are not immediately clear. Later, after his death and resurrection, the full import of his words will be apparent. Just as the temple is soon to be destroyed, so too the body of Jesus will be brought to death. But the future lies in the new life of resurrection. Despite this enigma the evangelist tells us that many in Jerusalem came to believe in Jesus’ name. From the start his words and person attracted those with the courage to see and understand.

What does the cleansing of the temple symbolise?

Is it helpful to see Jesus as the ‘new temple’?

Let us pray that our Lenten journey will be richly blessed.

Let us pray for the Jewish people, our elder brothers and sisters in the faith.

                                                                                                                   Fr Adrian Graffy