Homily for 2nd Sunday of Lent
Genesis 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18; Romans 8:31b-34; Mark 9:2-10
Dearly Beloved, I wish to remind you again how you need to look at the readings throughout the season as one great symbol but with different events emphasizing and encouraging our need to pray, give alms, fast and do penance. These are great symbols for our Christian life.
Last Sunday, like all first Sundays in lent, we read about the temptation story of Christ. This happened right after Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan. From the moment we are baptized, we are sent into the desert of the world. Each one of us must struggle against the devil and his temptations; each one of us has to reject sin and turn to God. Once set apart by our baptism, we begin this struggle against temptation and sin.
(The story of how my Dad, at the beginning of every term will buy a toy or gadget and place it on the shelves for my brother and I who will be the best in his class – Having the eyes on that prize was a motivation enough to make any sacrifice for that reward.)
Then on the second Sunday like today we have the story of the transfiguration. All the baptized or chosen are invited to climb the high mountain with Jesus and his three disciples, Peter, James and John. With them, we become witnesses to his Transfiguration.
Jesus gives us a beautiful glimpse of our destiny and our “destination.” He is showing us what our earthly pilgrimage is leading us to. For just a brief moment, we get to see the “goal” of our Christian lives. That which made Peter cry out, “Lord it is good that we are here …”should be an encouragement for you not to give up in this struggle which we reflected on in the temptation story last week. In the words of St. Paul, the difficulties of the present age are nothing as compared to the glory that is yet to be revealed. The promise of the resurrection is meant for all of us.
In the transfiguration we have the symbolism of Moses and Elijah. Moses representing all that has been written in the law and with Elijah representing all that the prophets foretold about Jesus. Now they disappear leaving Jesus. What a great mystery presented to us! Then comes the voice directing us to listen to no other but Jesus. The command is “listen to him”.
Dearly Beloved, these are great words of hope and encouragement for us today.
The first reading gives us an example of someone who put faith and trust in the words of God, Abraham. Abraham trusted God so completely, so totally — that he did not withhold from God his only beloved son. This is not easy for us to understand, how a father could agree to sacrifice his only son! But we know that Abraham believed that God could give life to the dead, and so he put his hope in God and by his faith he gave glory to God. Will you sacrifice something so dear to you because God says so?
That is what St. Paul is talking about in today’s second reading. St. Paul tells us: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all.” God loves each one of us so much that he is willing to hand over his only Son to suffer and to die for us.
We need to love God as he has loved us — by giving all of ourselves to him, as Christ gave himself up for us. Again, what sacrifices do you think he’s calling you to make on your journey.
So we need to examine ourselves today. What are we still holding back from God? What do we have in our life that is getting in the way, that is stopping you from giving yourself completely to God?
Dearly Beloved, the disciples found themselves looking around. But as we heard, they “no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.” This is a beautiful message for us, my brothers and sisters. Jesus alone is with us too. And he is the only One we need.
At times it may be hard to believe, but Jesus is with you when you are afraid and when you are suffering. He is with you when sometimes you cannot feel God’s presence or his love. He is with you when you are having difficulty finding purpose in your lives. And if Jesus is with you — in the words of St. Paul “if God is for us, who can be against us?” What at all in this life can come up against you? Nothing.
Dearly Beloved, times you are finding difficulties in listening and making meaning to the words of God, ask for the intercession of our blessed Mother. Pray the rosary. When she had no reason to believe in the message of the angel, she said “may it be done to me according to your word”.
Friends, Something glorious awaits us at the end of this 40 day journey through lent. No sacrifice is too great and no effort is too small to make for this course. God richly bless each and every one of you.