Homily (2) Second Sunday of Lent Year A: Fr. Michael UdoekpoReadings: Gen 12:1-4a; Ps 33:4-5, 18-20, 22; 2 Tm 1:8b-10 and Matt 17:1-9
Embracing Our Daily Crosses with TrustToday’s responsorial Psalm, “May your love be upon us O Lord as we place all our trust in you,” captures the spirit of the readings of today’s Second Sunday of Lent. During lent as we pray, give alms, do penance, attain retreats, it is also a time we solidify our trust and faith in God, the teacher of the suffering discipleship. It is a time we seek transformation and renewal. It is a time we think of our journeys. It is a time we reflect on the ultimate journey of every Christian, namely, the glory of the cross.
From the beginning, every child of God, every believer is invited to place his or her faith and trust in God. This is true in the journeys of Abraham, Christ and Saint Paul.
We are all familiar with the call and the journey or response of Abraham. God called Abraham imperatively, to leave his native Mesopotamia to an unknown destination: a land that God would show him. Abraham did trusting in God's providence and promises. He placed his trust in God and journeyed to this land promised him by God. Abraham may not have been a billionaire in the modern sense, but you can imagine the inconveniences of anybody leaving his home that way. No GPs. He met many trials on the way. one them was the bareness of Sarah (Gen 11:31; 16ff). Another was the threat of pharaoh over Sarah's beauty (Gen 12:10-20). In the midst of all these Abraham put his trust and faith in God.
On his journey to the cross Jesus brought his disciples, Peter, James and John to the mountain of transfiguration, mount Tabor, where Jesus’s face was transfigured and transformed. Christ’s face shone like the sun to the disciples. His cloth also became white as a bright light. Moses the law giver and Elijah the prophet also appeared to them, chatting with Jesus. So many transformation here. The brightness of the sun and the serenity of this mountain top gave the disciples such a joy and peace that they would want to remain there forever, building houses for Moses, Elijah and Jesus.
On February 7, 2010, I had the privilege to be on this mountain top, with a group other students from Rome. While on this mountain I felt somehow like the Peter, James and John, in sense. I could get a good view of the whole valley of Jezreel and the shining hills of Galilee, from there. Sometimes scary too! But the air up there, which is about 1848 feet, is very refreshing. It gives one a wonderful experience of God’s presence, in the brightness of the sun, in the deep valleys, on the mountain and natures. Sometimes you feel like not going back, especially with, beautifully maintained Franciscan Basilica up there, which was erected in the early 20th century, on the remains of the older churches.
But for Jesus the journey was not complete, without his cross. Tabor experience was only the foretaste of his glorious coming; a foretaste of victory over the cross. The disciples would have to keep going and be patient with themselves, and not complain or tell anyone about this mountain top experience, until the son of man has been raised from the dead.
Paul’s missionary journeys, after his conversion and personal transformation, were not without ups and downs. There were times he was beaten, ship wrecked and thrown into prisons. From his experiences he says to Timothy today, “beloved bear your share of hardship for the gospel, with the strength that comes from God (2 Tim 1:8-10). The same God that Abraham placed his trust and faith upon
All of us are on a journey or on a pilgrimage. We know there are challenges out there, even of temporary pleasure. How do we move beyond these challenges, beyond the Tabor experience? Some of our challenges could be forms of stress, betrayals, illnesses and disappointments and even the loss of someone we loved? We see them in other the daily events of life. They are there in our homes, schools, hospitals (in this residence home), offices, work places, factories and in religious communities.
We see them in the violence of our TV scenes and in sport fields. We see them in the selfish decision of some our politicians and leaders. We see them in the effects of wars and terrorism around the globe, in acts of injustices, and in the neglect of the weak, the poor, the aged and the needy of our society.
As we live through lent, may we continue to support and pray for one another on these journeys? May we continue to sing and pray that God’s love and mercy may remain and guide us as we place all our hope, faith and trust in him (ps 33:22).