Homily for Second Sunday of Lent Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27: 1, 7-9,13-14; Phil 3:17–4:1 and Luke 9:28b-36.
Our Exodus to Citizenship in the Promised Land
It is interesting to listen to the American Politicians: Democrats and the Republican debates immigration. Both parties debate the path of the immigrants to citizenship. Each party has different views and criteria to become an American Citizen.
Lent is a time we contemplate the “exodus” the path or the way that leads every Christian to heaven, or the path to becoming a citizen of that eternal and heavenly city.
In the transfiguration episode in today’s gospel Jesus' face changes in appearance, during prayer, while his cloth becomes dazzling white to the amazement of his disciples, Peter, James and John who were with him. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus about the glory of the cross in the language of the exodus, known to both of them.
In the exodus God was in charge. Even before then, after the fall of man and woman, he called Abraham in Genesis 12. And established a covenant, a bond, a sacred relationship with Abraham, during which God promised him descendants as numerous as the stars as well as the Land, place of rest (katapausis, Gen 15:5-12,17-18). Although, the righteous Abraham put his faith in the Lord, the journey to inherit the Promised Land was never going to be easy: they would encounter, hostile kings, wars, temptations, famine which will take them to Egypt. Moses and Joshua would continue to be God’s viceroys through the exodus, the departure from Egypt through the wilderness, desert, the sufferings, “the cross” the thirstiness, hunger, murmuring, rebellion, and other ups and down as they journeyed towards that Promised Land.
As clearly stated in the Letter to the Hebrews 4:1-13, that promise remains; that exodus departure would be completed in the paschal mysteries of Christ, which lent prepares us for, as cited by Evangelist Luke in today’s gospel, and by Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei. while acknowledging the challenges, the deserts and the difficulties of times we are in( n.7), he summons all of us, pastors, everyone to imitate Christ, by setting out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life; towards friendship with God(n.2), towards the heavenly kingdom.
St. Paul an Apostle of the Gentiles experienced the desert himself- beaten, imprisoned, and shipped wrecked and killed. Paul and exemplary leader knew, and reminds us today that our citizenship is not on earthly desert, as such, but in peaceful and friendly heaven (Phil 3:17:1). As he would have invited the Philippians, Paul invites us to stand firm in Christ, in spite of the trials, temptation, and the wilderness of life that each of us might experience in life.
Prayer, courage, perseverance exemplified in the passion of Christ during Holy Week(his exodus) and the type of faith and firmness displayed by Abraham and Paul are the true paths that will guarantee us that heavenly citizenship.