Here is my homily for this weekend. God bless you!
2nd Sunday of Lent, Cycle C
Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3: 17-4:1; Lk 9: 28b-36
February 20/21, 2016
In the Transfiguration, Jesus reveals his divinity and his glory as the Son of the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Immediately preceding today’s passage, Jesus had revealed to his Apostles that he would suffer and die. He wanted the Apostles to know that his life would consist of suffering and glory, of the Cross and the Resurrection.
I would ask you now to recall those times of your life, those pivotal times which seemed to have really changed you. I would like you to think of those high points, those crucial times, those times that defined who you are today.
Were these times of pain and suffering, or times of joy and glory? Were they setbacks and defeats, or times when you succeeded and shined?
You see, if we follow Jesus, suffering will change us and joy will change us. If we follow Jesus closely, we will experience both suffering and glory. We will experience both the Cross and the Resurrection.
The key question is: “Are we following Jesus closely, or at a safe distance? Are we following him closely enough to find ourselves at the foot of his Cross and at the empty tomb on Easter morning? Will we be with him in his suffering and will we be with him in his glory? Are we willing to follow Jesus where he has gone?”
We cannot be in the presence of Jesus, that is, we cannot follow him closely, without in some way being changed, purified of our faults and imperfections, indeed even from the effects of our sins. If we closely follow Jesus, we will be transformed and transfigured. If we follow Jesus closely enough, we will experience both suffering and joy. If you want to know how to follow Jesus that closely, just read the Scriptures and look to the Church to guide you.
Lent is a time for us to walk with Jesus, to live with Jesus, to experience with Jesus what he experienced. Lent is a time for us to be like Jesus so much that we come to share in his glory, to radiate his love to others like Jesus did in the Transfiguration. Lent is a time for change, for conversion, for transformation, for a real rending of our hearts as Fr, Havel reminded us in his Ash Wednesday homily. Walking close to Jesus and being converted, transfigured into his image- this is Lent.
The real purpose of our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving is not to inflict pain or distress or suffering on ourselves; rather, it is to bring others and ourselves to glory. The purpose of our fasts, prayers and works of charity is to prepare us to reach out to the glory promised us by God. In Lent, we always have our sights fixed on Easter Sunday; we always have the Resurrection in mind. We eagerly run to the glory of Easter when we experience Good Friday. The Cross is foolishness to those who do not believe in Easter. Suffering in life is worthless to those who reject the Resurrection, but to those who follow Jesus closely, who believe in the Gospel, who are members of his Church, the sufferings of life, the penances of Lent, are embraced as forerunners to the glory of Easter and the glory of God.
So, do you fast so as to magnify God’s glory? Do you pray, do you come to Mass and go to Confession so as to walk ever closer to Jesus and to be purified of your sins? Do you give alms, do acts of charity to demonstrate what will happen in eternity when we will give back to God all we have and receive glory?
Join me in fasting this Lent in order to shine with the glory of God. Join me in prayer here at the Stations of the Cross on Tuesdays, at Eucharistic adoration on Thursdays, Confession on Saturdays, and the Mass offered every day, in order to walk more closely with Jesus through the Cross to the Resurrection. Join me in giving alms and acts of charity in order to taste here on earth what will be eternally ours in the glory of heaven.
Yes, even in Lent, we reach out to the glory of the Resurrection.
I began by asking you to mentally review your lives, to recall those pivotal periods when your lives seemed to have changed, when you seemed to have been defined in some way. I asked whether those times were times of suffering or times of joy, whether they were times of setback and defeat or times of glory and success. What did you remember about your life? If you did not remember both the Cross and the Resurrection, if you could not recall both times of suffering and times of joy that had transfigured you, then you need to embrace this Lent even more enthusiastically and chang! Rend your hearts before Easter comes!
Walk with Jesus this Lent! Walk closely with him! With him, you will die and you will rise. With him, you will suffer and that suffering will bring you glory. You will be converted, purified, and God will say to you Easter morning, “Come, share in my joy!”