Second Sunday of Lent Year C
One of the types of places I love visiting for a holiday are mountains. I love driving up mountains (not climbing them!), firstly because I love cold temperatures. The other reason I love being on mountains is that the sheer height gives me a sense of transcendence. Whatever the stress I may be experiencing at a particular point of my life journey, being on a mountain gives me a sense that I am able to transcend all these stresses life has brought me.
The transfiguration event seems to point to a similar kind of experience that the disciples went through when they ascended the mountain with Jesus.
First Sunday of Lent Year C
For some of us who have a deep love and affection for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, our Lent this year might have begun rather prematurely. I remember the evening five days ago when the news was released, I was having a short nap and was awoken by a series of successive text messages on my phone from people enquiring if it was true that Pope Benedict XVI was going to abdicate the Chair of St Peter. After all, this was an unprecedented decision in the past 700 years of the Church, and none of us alive today has ever lived to see a Pope resign. Until now.
I have sometimes wondered to myself if I have truly become Catholic at heart, at an affective level, not just at an intellectual level. Until now.
In April 2005, when Pope John Paul II passed away, I felt like my neighbour's father had passed away. It came with a subtle tinge of melancholy, but not a very heavy heart. I felt, well, sorry at the grief expressed by many Catholic faithful throughout the world, but I shed no tear. The one who had passed away was a very, very good man. But he was "someone else".
Pope Benedict XVI has just announced in a Consistory that he will be abdicating from the Chair of Peter very soon.
It has been more than six centuries since a Pontiff renounced his ministry as supreme and universal shepherd of the Church, and this makes the announcement shocking to many around the world.
Here is the full script of the announcement: