Reflection for March 13, 2022 – Second Sunday of Lent

Readings: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28b-36

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ — Luke 9:35

Listening from the heart

The story of the Transfiguration is one of the highpoints of the Gospels. Jesus has just announced to Peter, John and James what awaits him: his death and resurrection. At the same time, a voice confirms Jesus in his mission with the command, “Listen to him!” To listen is to be attentive to someone’s words. It is to act according to what is asked of us. It is to pay attention, not only with our heads, but also especially with our hearts.

Today, more than ever, the public square and social media are full of false prophets claiming to offer salvific words to men and women. So well crafted are advertising messages that we sometimes cannot help but be surprised enough to stop and “listen.”

In this world of advertising, of electronic and visual solicitation, there is little room for the voices of the poor and the weak. And when they do manage to make themselves heard, do we take the time to listen to them from the heart?

Reminding us that “Nature is filled with words of love,” Pope Francis asks, “[H]ow can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances?” He adds, “An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle…” (Laudato Si’, 225).

Will we be able to recognize the voice of the Father saying, “This is my Son… listen to him!” To listen to the beloved Son is to accept to open our hearts to His invitations, even when His Word calls us across a desert or to the Passion.

On this Transfiguration Sunday, in the silence of the mountain, the Father invites us to listen to his Son. Will we be able to recognize his call to solidarity with our partners in Madagascar? Let us not be afraid to listen. He will show us how we can help our sisters and brothers transform their own lives. Heeding our sisters and brothers living in contaminated surroundings in Madagascar, the Andohatapenaka Development Council (CDA) chose to support them to adapt and transform their environs.

CDA’s work on climate change adaptation is part of its effort to engage citizens in public life and to support local initiatives to improve and preserve sanitation, infrastructure and the environment.

Madagascar is a country especially vulnerable to climate change. CDA operates in a part of the country that is often flooded and insalubrious due to heavy rains. To show that people can be equipped to manage and transform their neighbourhoods despite multiple vulnerabilities, CDA helped rehabilitate a contaminated area into a community garden and supported 51 microprojects for adaptation to climate change. Through two management committees and a villagers’ commitment charter, CDA also helped residents of one of the region’s most vulnerable communities to collectively transform their neighbourhood into a self-managed ecological village. Today, each of the village’s 50 households has its own vegetable garden, stove and solar panels. This transformation, the fruit of popular mobilization, reflects a true ecological conversion.

Within this ecological village and other communities involved in the microprojects, hundreds of people have benefited from workshops on climate adaptation practices like composting, agroecological methods, urban agriculture, making biomass charcoal or raising animals adapted to an environment prone to flooding.

The Share Lent campaign invites us to solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Global South, whose troubles are being exacerbated by conflict, climate change and the pandemic. And, as Pope Francis reminds us, “justice and solidarity are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day” (Fratelli Tutti, 11).

Thanks to the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John became prophets, spokesmen and witnesses of the Lord’s love for everyone.

And what about us? Are we ready, with Him, to transform the world, so that life may be reborn?

By Micheline Savoie, member, Development and Peace Diocesan Council, Diocese of Montreal

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