Here is my homily for the weekend. God bless all!
2nd Sunday in Lent, Cycle C
Gen 15: 5-12, 17-18; Phil 3: 17-41; Lk 9: 28b-36
Today’s homily will begin with a reflection since the Gospel is about a vision Peter, John, and James had on Mount Tabor when they saw the divinity of Jesus Christ.
What is the first thing you see when you enter this church? It is the crucifix. The question is whether we look at it or not, whether we meditate on it or distract ourselves from it every Sunday when we come to Mass. I would ask you to please look at it now. You can listen to me and look at the Cross. What do you see when you gaze on that Cross? A man to be pitied or someone you love? Someone from whom you, out of fear, want to turn away your attention or someone to whom you turn in faith? Do you see someone like you, or unlike you? Do you see a failure, or a victor?
A Christian sees beyond the Cross, beyond the darkness of Calvary, beyond the ugliness of Golgotha and on to the glory and light that follows. God allows the Cross, but he gives us the resurrection. God allows the Cross and gives us the transfiguration of our lives.
The Cross is the portal, the door, through which we must pass in this life in order to enter into the glory promised us in heaven where we shall see God as his is. Pope Francis said, “The Cross is the door to resurrection.” Whoever struggles alongside Jesus will triumph with him.
So, what is the Cross in your life? Lent is a time to confront whatever it is and change.
Lent is a time to change our lives, real change of our hearts, a time to embrace whatever the Cross may be in our lives, by doing the small necessary things over and over again without losing hope. Maybe your cross is family matters; maybe it is health issues; maybe it is being more charitable with your finances; maybe it is about confronting an addiction from which you suffer and get help to obtain a more sober and clean life. Maybe it is about admitting your doubts and asking for greater faith.
All of us want to change external things but not many of us want to go through the process of internal change, which can be difficult, which is the Cross for us. Letting go of well known attitudes, behaviors, sins, lifestyles, all of that can be hard. Ask anyone who is addicted to whatever, and he will tell you that unless you keep doing the small things over and over again, never losing hope, you will not become who you were created to be. Am I becoming more and more like God, or am I just changing the small things to become who I want to be? Do I want to embrace the Cross in my life, or do I deny and avoid it? Do I only want the glory?
It is about doing all the little things over and over again, more than it is about doing a big thing once. It isn’t really about “doing” more as it is about “becoming” more. Becoming more like Jesus.
We cannot enter into God’s glory – radiant with the light of God – until we pass through the Cross. We cannot be resurrected until we have stood at the foot of the Cross and received God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Peter, James, and John were given a glimpse of God’s glory, and their future glory, in the Transfiguration when Jesus revealed himself as true God and true man. In the Transfiguration, Jesus showed them what lay ahead for them, for all his followers, you and me, if we but pass through the Cross and remain faithful, hopeful, and loving. At the Transfiguration, Jesus reveals himself as God and extends to all of us a tremendous promise: “You too will be transfigured into the glory of God if you follow me.”
“Follow me. All the way to Calvary; all the way to Golgotha; all the way to the Tomb, then all the way to heaven itself. Jesus says, “Remain faithful throughout all of Lent so you will be ready to celebrate Easter.”
Jesus knew that the Cross was going to be difficult for himself and for his followers. That is one reason he let them see his glory in the Transfiguration, so they would not become discouraged, so that we don’t become discouraged.
During this Lent, we can ask ourselves whether we will be faithful until the end. Whether we will remain faithful at the foot of the Cross so as to pass through it to new life. We can ask ourselves whether or not we will let fear of change, fear of the Cross, keep us from inheriting God’s promise of glory with him in heaven.
St. John Paul II said, “Non avete paura. Spalancate le porte a Cristo!” which means, don’t be afraid, open wide your hearts to Christ. May all of us trust Jesus to be with us now as we embrace the crosses of our live, and forever with us in glory in the life to come.