Second Sunday of Lent by Fr. Gerard Jonas

Homily of 25 February 2018

Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18; Romans 8:31b-35,37; Mark 9:2-10

We continue our journey to Easter thru Lent.

On this second Sunday of Lent, the first reading tells of the readiness of Abraham to offer his beloved son Isaac as sacrifice. This prefigures the ultimate sacrifice of God the Father in handing over his Son Jesus for us all. Abraham, listened and acted upon the promptings of God in the Old Testament. In full faith and trust, he did not see any contradiction in God telling him he will be the father of a great nation, then later asking him to sacrifice the only son of his old age. His great faith, indeed, made him our father in faith. When Abraham went up the mountain he proclaimed that he was 100% for God. When God sent his only begotten Son into the world, He was proclaiming himself 100% for us.

In the second reading, St. Paul encourages the Romans to be steadfast in their faith and true to their covenant relationship with our saving God. Today, in this Letter to the Romans, St. Paul likewise assures us, “If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for us all, will he not give us everything else along with him?”

The Gospel episode of the Transfiguration gives us a glimpse into the glorious destiny of Jesus as the suffering Messiah-Savior of the world. Today we are invited to commune with God as Jesus did when He brought his three disciples, Peter, James and John, high up a mountain. Do we also see ourselves in such a special time and place of communion with God in these forty days of Lent? Jesus showed himself transfigured, in all glory, in the midst of Moses and Elijah, the two great authorities of the Old Testament, representing the Law and the Prophets. And accompanying the glorious vision was a voice saying, as at the Lord’s Baptism, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” The Lord introduced at Jordan is the same Jesus to be handed over to death and the same Jesus to be glorified in His Resurrection. He is the same Jesus who continues to abide with us through all time for He is Emmanuel, God-with-us for our salvation.

Indeed, again, we are reminded of the challenge of our faith. No matter what happens, we are to listen and abide by Jesus and his teachings. How do we take the words we read and we hear proclaimed from the Sacred Scriptures? Do we also regard them as personally addressed to us? How do the Words of Scriptures affect our daily thoughts and actions?

The Transfiguration event we revisit on this second Sunday of Lent tells us that the Lenten Season is not all about gloom but also about glory. The Lenten journey culminates in the Glory of Easter as our earthly life is a journey to our full and eternal life with God in glory. In a way, today’s celebration brings us words of hope and joy to carry us through the remaining days of Lent and indeed all through our life.

The Lord’s transfiguration is a challenge for us to likewise “transfigure” our senses. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to “transfigure” our eyes to perceive the invitation to encounter the Lord in everyone at all times, to “transfigure” our ears to hear and recognize God’s voice that beckons us to follow Him – learning to retrace the path towards Him at all times, and to “transfigure” our heart to long always and only for Him through our joys and sorrows, anxieties and hopes.