Thursday, March 1, 2012

Homily Second Sunday of Lent Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily Second Sunday of Lent Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Gen 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Ps 116:10, 15,16-19; Rom 8:31b-34 and Mark 9:2-10

Sacrifice: listening, obedience and walking before the Lord

Listening or hearing is one of the exercises that all of us do when with the Grace of God we wake up each morning. We listen to our heart beats, to our bodies. We listen to the radio and the media, the news. We listen to one another, parents, children, teachers and neighbors. We listen to homilies and Sermons in all the liturgical seasons of the Year especially during the Season of Lent, a time of grace and a special moment for yearning and responding to God’s love, and listening to him in obedience.

What is striking to me in the Bible lessons of today,is not only the spiritual significance of the transfiguration narrative, but the listening and obedience virtues exhibited by Abraham in the story of  the sacrifice of his son Isaac. It reminds  us of the need to constantly pay attention to God’s plan of salvation and the glorious mystery of the Cross championed by Christ, who intercedes for us.

Remember in Genesis 12 Abraham listened to God and embarked on a faith journey. His only GPS was faith as he risked travelling to the land God would show him.  He is called today to sacrifice his only son from Sarah, Isaac (Gen 22). Abraham is able to listen through the testing period as directed by God. God called Abraham directed him step by step on what to do, with the child, not to lay his hands, what to do with the firewood, with the knife and with the ram, which he finally took and offered as a holocaust in place of his son, Isaac. The result of this is blessings upon Abraham and his descendants. We are all blessed through the obedience and sacrifice of Abraham.

Similarly, in the transfiguration episode, on mount Tabor, the disciples of Christ, Peter, James and John once saddened by Jesus prediction of his journey to the Cross (Mk 9:1) and the cost of discipleship ( Mk 8:34-38) are once shown; the glorious face of Jesus, his beauty. It is so glorious and comfortable up there such that Peter not realizing the mystery of the cross quickly proposed a tent’s construction, for Elijah, Moses and Christ. This proposal is once again met with advice from heaven, “this is my beloved son listen to him” (Mk 9:7b, Matt 17:5), a divine affirmation of Jesus, the new Moses, the new prophet and his ministry.

During this lent we want not only to be like Abraham, we want to sacrifice our patience by listening to Christ in a renewed way, his message of forgiveness; His message of change of heart and transformation (Luke 15, Rom 12:2). We want to reflect on the meaning of Christ’s baptism which we all share (John 3:5) and the mystery of his cross which anticipates the resurrection.

 Paul understood this mystery. He  shared this with us today when he says today,” If God is for us nothing can be against us” (Rom 8:31-34), and this we want to listen to. We want to see in our daily crosses the joy of the resurrection, the mount Tabor experience that awaits us at Easter.  We also want to listen to Christ’s message of Love (I Cor 7), of the sacrifice of charity, that the Church encourages us to incorporate into our Lenten discipline, those practical and spiritual works of mercy, for “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers/sisters and neighbors (the poor, the needy, the aged, the sick, the oppressed and those affected by  recent global natural disasters and deprivations of political and religious freedom)  so you do unto me” (Matt 25:35-40).

 As we journey through the sacrifices and discipline of lent, let us pray for the listening Grace  of God to always recognize the voice and the glorious face of Christ in our lives’ events, knowing that if he is for us nothing can be against us.