Second Sunday of Lent: Tents in Lent

Second Sunday of Lent: Tents in Lent

BY MAUREEN O’CONNELL, PH.D. | March 5, 2023
Today’s Readings

A group of us in Catholic higher education in Philadelphia—students, educators, administrators—have been walking the synodal path with Archdiocesan leaders, including Archbishop Nelson Perez, for a year now. So we’re familiar with the mantra of the current phase of the global synod: enlarge the space in your tent! This is Isaiah’s recommendation to the forsaken people of Israel—make your tents bigger because God is going to make you a great people! 

Last month, a last-minute inspiration to incorporate an actual tent into the design of our most recent cross-campus synodal gathering made all the difference. Under it we placed objects that were sacred to us and symbols of the charisms of our respective institutions. There were prayer cards and plants, wood carvings and flickering candles. Our tent amplified the palpable sense that yes, this is what a Church where all belong feels like! Despite the late hour, people were reluctant to leave.Second Sunday of Lent: Tents in LentSurely the disciples felt these same things during Jesus’s transfiguration. Afterall, they too wanted to put up tents so they could marinate in the clarity of that mystifying moment: yes, Jesus is indeed the Messiah here to make whole God’s people! Who would want to leave that scene? 

In the end, however, Jesus reminds them—and us—that discipleship is not about putting down our stakes in the miraculous serenity that comes with clarity of purpose or unequivocal belonging or irrefutable Divine inbreaking. As Richard Rohr says, “Jesus doesn’t want us to worship him; he wants us to follow him.” We’ve got to resist the temptation to make our tents permanent way stations on this chaotic journey. They are not portals of escape from the world as it is. We’ve got to take them down and get back to walking The Way with each other, its own transfiguration of our broken world.

For Reflection:

  • Have you ever had a transfiguration experience? What did it feel like? How could you return in some way to that experience?
  • Where are you tempted to fixate on certitudes or tether yourself to comfortableness?
  • Where is the next big tent experience on your horizon? What do you need from God to keep walking toward it?
7 replies
  1. Steve
    Steve says:

    I love the use of the Richard Rohr quote, ” “Jesus doesn’t want us to worship him; he wants us to follow him.” It was perfect for this Gospel and for wider use!

  2. sonja
    sonja says:

    To walk with Jesus, I think of a bedouin tent with it’s wide welcome opening and scent of Arabic coffee and shared meals of hospitality. All are welcome and fed physically, mentally and most important spiritually. We can only do this if we take time out of our busy lives to really listen to others.


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