Homily on the 2nd Sunday of Lent
“This is my Beloved, listen to him”
Dearly Beloved, on the second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading proclaims the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration recorded in the three synoptic gospels — Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Again, in year ‘B’, we hear Mark’s report of this event. Today Christ is revealed through his transfiguration as the son of God. The only thing that God demands from us is: “Listen to him!” If we listen to Christ, we shall be successful in our journey with him this season.
In our first reading from Genesis, Abraham was put to test and he remained faithful to God. The point of the account in Genesis is not about God asking Abraham to do something immoral, but about Abraham’s willingness always to do the will of God. Abraham is called “our father in faith” because of his complete dedication to doing whatever God asks of him. This command to Abraham to offer his only son prefigures how God would later offer his own son for our salvation. God prevented the sacrifice of Isaac because, Abraham’s faith was firm.
What do we learn from Abraham today? The first is that he was attentive to the word of God and obeyed God’s command. The second is his trust in God. The is third is, his generosity towards God. This is a season to pause, and to ask God: “Please Lord, what must I do? This question presupposes prayer. The answer comes in our ability to listen to God and do what he commands. That is, opening ourselves to his word. We are therefore encouraged, among other things to focus on prayer and his word and trust in what he says to us.
In the transfiguration, Christ manifests his glory to three of his disciples. The transfiguration reflects the divinity of Jesus. Transfiguration is simply a glimpse of the gift and glory of God. Today, Christ reveals his future Glory. However, to attain the fullness of this glory, He must first suffer and be crucified. It does not mean that God is happy to burden us with suffering in order to reward us with heaven. NO. He only identifies with us in the limitations that we feel as humans, as a result of the fall. God spoke eloquently and confirmed the lordship of Jesus Christ: “This is my beloved….” However, He demands only one thing from us: “Listen to him!” Listening is not the same as hearing. One is always active and the other can be passive.
Listening to Christ means opening ourselves in obedience to his word, transforming our lives and changing our ways. A bad way can be made good, a good one better and the better one, the best. It means living according to the word of God we hear every day. So, Christ speaks to us speaks to us through his words in the daily celebration of the sacraments; through our private reading of sacred scripture; through the events of life, like the current pandemic; through the poor and the marginalized you experienced each day; through the news of people you know who are sick or have passed on; through your own setbacks and things that boarder you at time; sick; through the driver who cuts into our way carelessly; through that friend and family member who is inconsiderate, through that wife or husband who is so difficult. The point I wish to emphasized is that God is speaking to you in many ways that you are probably not paying attention. Lent is a period to take time to pause for a moment and listen. In listening, he invites to believe in love and care for you.
At times, we may doubt what God might be telling us or ask of us. We find it difficult to accept the evil that is in our world, the bad things that happen to good people, the atrocities against people that go unpunished, a pandemic like the one that engulfs our world at this time. Always people ask how a good God can allow such evils to happen. Yet such questions are truly not about God but about us humans with our sinfulness. These are the very situations God wants you to intervene. Intervene by with faith, trust and hope and never despair.
And how difficult that is! The Letter to the Romans, from which is taken the second reading today, speaks to this problem: “Christ Jesus it is who died–or, rather, was raised—who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.” The only way of redemption is to embrace the path of God, who gave His own Son for us. This reading is very encouraging because of the hope it offers. This is especially, during this season of Lent. Paul offers us three assurances: “There is no opposition; there is no condemnation; and there is no separation.” This is because: “God graciously gave His Son for us.” So, like Abraham, God was not selfish. Rather, He willingly gave up his Son for our sake: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (Jn 3:16).
Beloved, this particular quotation from John has been highlighted for the past three weeks. Deacon Jose first mentioned that it is the response of God to human pain and suffering”, I remember sharing with you last week that it is the summary of the entire “gospel”. The emphasis today, as St. Paul puts it “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Why will God not give you anything else?.
Friends, what else will be for your salvation that he will withhold from you or allow to happen; the pain, the struggles, the losses, the difficulties, the uncertainties etc. will God allow them to persist if they are able to derail your salvation? What will be the sense in Christ dying then? God sacrificing his son for your sake only to allow a sickness or the loss of a love one ruin everything. Will he allow that to happen? Make some efforts to listen in such moments to see if your doubts will be clarified. Again, I encourage you to take some time to really listen to what God may be saying to you in the very situation you find yourself. You need to have time to listen. It is not easy from the beginning; it takes a lot of practice. But you will gradually master that. Stay blessed.