Listen to Him!

Second Sunday Lent

Just as during the first Sunday of Lent, the Church presents to us Jesus in the desert and his temptations, during the second Sunday of Lent, we read about the transfiguration of Christ. This year we are reading from the Gospel of Mark. Last year, we read the Gospel according to Matthew and next year, we will read the Gospel according to Luke. These three gospels are called the Synoptic Gospels.  It is a Greek word meaning that there are similarities in these Gospels. The Transfiguration is recounted in these Gospels, and so are several other events. The Gospel of John is recounted from a different perspective, which is distinct from the other three. 

Jesus takes three among the apostles on top of a mountain. It is never easy to walk up a mountain. It is strenuous, ones gets tired and at times one may wish to give up. It could very well be, that this is how the apostles felt. If one has ever climbed up a mountain, or at least part of one, one knows that once one reaches the top and sees that marvellous view, they will know that it was well worth the effort! This is what happened to the apostles. When they arrived at the top, Jesus changed in front of their eyes. The change was astounding, they had never seen anything like it. They were afraid and confused, yet at the same time they were at peace and wanted to remain there. 

This is our Christian life. We walk with Jesus. At times, the journey is on flat ground, other times, the road is difficult and steep. Today’s reading fills us with hope, just like the three apostles. Some time, after the Transfiguration, these same apostles, passed through trying moments, when they saw Jesus condemned to death, and they witnessed his suffering. At the time they did not understand the change they saw in Jesus, however, after Jesus rose from the dead, they understood better. This is Lent. We may say that our lifetime is one long season of Lent, however we know, and we believe that at the end, death will be conquered. Just as Jesus conquered death, we too will be born to eternal life, and repeat Peter’s words: “it is good that we are here!”

How can we defeat death? How can we not lose hope when the way in front of us is full of obstacles and difficulties? God the Father gives us the key: we need to listen to Jesus and do what he wishes. Just as Jesus walked with the three apostles up the mountain, he walks with us too. However, Jesus also accompanied the apostles in their descent. Jesus is always with us; he accompanies us during those times when we feel that we are on top of the world and also, when we are walking through the dark valleys. 

When we listen to Jesus and walk with him, there will be times, when we feel God’s tangible presence. It will be like what Peter felt, when he wanted to hold onto that moment for ever. Prayer helps us to get really close to God and we can allow him to comfort us with his presence, to give us courage and what we need to continue ascending our mountain, until, one day, we reach the top, and enjoy God’s presence for eternity.

A reading from the Gospel of Mark (Mk 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.

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. Have you ever lost your children whilst in a crowd? In all that noise, did you manage to hear them calling you? How did you manage to identify their voices? You know your children well, that is why you recognise their voice. This is how we can recognise Jesus’ voice. First and foremost, we must get to know him, so that we can identify his voice, from among all the other voices and noise around us. During Lent, make time to read scripture every day. Do not forgo this practise after Lent. There are several resources which can help you; this may be one of them. Although this podcast started in January, you may start this journey whenever you want.
  4. During Lent we are called to increase our prayer time, so that we may mature in our relationship with God. During this week, make an appointment between you and God. See that you keep this time. Choose a time, when you can be alone, with no distractions. Silently, spend this time with the Lord and allow him to speak to you. The apostles heard him say: “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.” Allow him to speak to you too.
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare:
    i. The Bible reading from St Mark (9, 2-10),
    ii. A candle
    iii. Cover the table with purple cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested)
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊
  9. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family

Today we are going to hear how Jesus walked up a mountain accompanied by three among his apostles. There, Jesus was changed. His clothes became white as no one had seen before and with him, there were two other men: Moses and Elijah. These two men had lived many years before Jesus was born. Do you remember who Moses was? Moses was the one, who with God’s help, rescued the Jews from Egypt. Elijah was a prophet who taught the people about God.

  • God wants us to listen to Jesus
  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • Printouts of the activity
  • Colours
  • Glue
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • 3 clear glass cups
  • 3 plastic cups
  • Sweets 

Note to parents: Before you start, prepare the cups and sweets. First you will be using the plastic ones. Put them upside down, and under one of them, place some sweets. The glass cups are to be prepared in the same way.

Today we are going to start with a game.  Under one of these cups there are some sweets (show the plastic cups). Do you know where they are? (allow the children to guess)

It was not easy to guess where they were! Let us make this game easier (show the glass cups). Now, is it easier to guess under which cup there are some sweets?

The event which we encounter through today’s Gospel, may be described through a simile. It is as if Jesus played the game that we played, with the apostles. He did not have any sweets to give them, however he helped them understand who he was. In those days, the people were waiting for the Messiah, the Son of God. The Messiah was to save them. We know that Jesus is the Messiah, but they did not know, or maybe they were not too certain. So, when Jesus changed in front of them, they saw and believed that Jesus was the Son of God. They did not understand completely what they heard, however when later Jesus rose from the dead, they understood better. Before Jesus was transfigured (changed) in front of the apostles, he was like the sweets under the plastic cup. They were uncertain who Jesus was. Yet, when he changed in front of them, and when they heard the voice saying: “Jesus is my beloved son, listen to him,” he became like the sweets under the glass cup. They could see clearly who Jesus was.

Do you know who Jesus is? God told us that to know Jesus, we need to listen to him.

Did someone ever tell you to open your ears and listen carefully? It could be that mummy or daddy told you this when they asked you something repeatedly and you were too distracted to hear them. To listen to Jesus, we must open our ears. When we listen to Jesus, we will get to know him, like the apostles. When the apostles, got to know Jesus, they followed him and did what he wished them to do. This is what happens to us too. When we get to know Jesus, we will do what he wants. Although, unlike the apostles, we cannot see Jesus, we know that he is always there walking beside us. So, when you are doing today’s activity, listen to: Walking with Jesus.

Do you remember what we said last week? During Lent, every day, with your parents’ help, you are going to read a story from the Bible. When we read the Bible, we will be listening to Jesus. So, to listen well, we will be making some big ears!

With your parents’ help, cut a strip of construction paper, long enough to encircle your head. On this, glue the words: Listening to Jesus. You may wish to colour these words. Fix the construction paper so that it forms a circle, and you can wear it on your head. Stick the ears on construction paper, cut them out and colour them. When they are ready, fix them on the sides of the circle, so that when you wear it, it looks like you have big listening ears. Leave these near your Bible and if you wish, you may wear them, when you are reading Bible stories. Also, they will remind you, that Jesus wishes to talk to you, not only through Bible stories, but also when you pray.

Sign of the cross.

Dear Jesus, we want to get to know you better. We want to listen to you. Sometimes, we get distracted when listening to Bible stories, and we do not hear what you want to tell us. Jesus, help us, so that we listen to you, each time you want to talk to us. Thank you, Jesus. We love you.

Note to parents: remember to give the sweets to the children 😊 

Some days before the event which we are going to read about today, Jesus had spoken with his apostles about his suffering and death, prophesying that he would rise again after three days. The apostles did not understand fully what Jesus had told them. After this experience, Jesus chose three among them and took them on top of a mountain. Once they arrived there, Jesus was transformed in front of them. Jesus showed them what God looked like. He did this, so that they would believe that he was God. He also wanted to give them hope, that would sustain them when later on they would see him suffer and die on the cross.

  • Jesus changes (transfigures) in front of the apostles to show that he is God
  • We need to learn to listen to Jesus
  • Blank sheet of paper
  • Pencil
  • Colours
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors 

In today’s Gospel, two men were mentioned. These men had lived many years before Jesus was born. Do you remember their names? (Moses and Elijah) 

Do you know who these men were?

Moses, lived around 1,000 years before Jesus was born. With God’s help, Moses saved the Jews from Egypt and took them to a land promised to them by God.

Elijah was a prophet, who lived around 800 years, before Jesus was born. A prophet is someone who taught the people about God; he was like a messenger from God. 

No wonder, Peter, James, and John were frightened! They saw Jesus in a way they had never seen him before. In fact, they had never seen anyone look like that! They also saw two men who had died many years before. To top it all, they heard a voice, coming from the clouds, saying: “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.”

All of this, however, helped Peter, James, and John to understand better what Jesus had told them a few days earlier. They also believed that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah. He was the one they had been waiting for to save them.  There were still things which Jesus had told them, and they did not understand. In time, especially after Jesus rose from the dead and the Holy Spirit descended upon them, the apostles understood much more what Jesus had told them and what he had taught them.

What would you have done if you were there? (allow the children to imagine themselves in this situation)

None of us were there with the apostles. None of us saw Jesus change, neither did we hear the voice from the cloud. This was God’s voice. Although we were not there, that voice, today is telling us: “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.”

How can we hear Jesus speaking to us? (Bible, prayer, catechism meetings, homilies during mass)

Do you think it is enough to listen to Jesus?

We need to listen to Jesus, so that we learn how we are to live. Therefore, we not only have to listen to him, but also do as he asks. What do you think Jesus, wants to tell us? What do you think he is asking us to do? (allow the children to express themselves)

On the blank piece of paper, draw the outline of your hand. This will help you remember what Jesus is telling you. If you wish you may stick this handprint on to construction paper to be firmer. On the fingers you are going to write what Jesus is asking you to do:

  • Pray
  • Help others (at home, grandparents, friends, those people we know, we are also asked to help the poor by giving them money)
  • Share what we have
  • Care for others, and love them
  • Forgive those who have hurt us

Put this handprint on your bedside table, or somewhere noticeable around the house, so that each time you see it, you remember what Jesus is telling you.

Jesus does not want us to be sad. When we do as Jesus wishes, although at times, this may be difficult, we will be happy. When Peter saw Jesus change, he was so happy, that he wanted that moment to last forever. We too feel this joy, when we listen to Jesus and do as he wishes. Whilst you are doing the handprint, listen to, Sing, shout, clap.

Sign of the cross.

When we recite the luminous mysteries, in the fourth mystery we remember the Transfiguration of Jesus. Today, we will pray the luminous mysteries.

1. Today's Gospel narrates that Jesus took with him some among the apostles on....

Correct! Wrong!

2. Who were the apostles which Jesus took with him to this place?

Correct! Wrong!

3. What did Jesus do when he and the apostles were at this special place?

Correct! Wrong!

4. Who were the two men who appeared beside Jesus when this event took place?

Correct! Wrong!

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.