Homily Second Sunday of Lent Year B Transfiguration

By 11:45 AM

Homily Second Sunday of Lent Year B

Reading 1: Last Sunday we focused on the covenant God made with Noah after the flood and the sign of the covenant was the rainbow. In spite of God’s action, man continued to sin and replaced the only true God with creatures as god. God first made a promise to Abraham that if he believed and followed God, Yahweh would give Abraham many blessings, many descendants and a land flowing with milk and honey.
For many years Abraham did not see any descendants. Sara, his wife, was barren. Finally, after she was well beyond the natural age of conceiving a child, Sara gave birth to a son, Isaac.  This was the beginning of God fulfilling his promises. God made a covenant with Abraham and the sign of this covenant was circumcision.

When Isaac was twelve, God put Abraham to test, which is today’s first reading. The question in Abraham’s mind was why would God give him a son and then demand the sacrifice of his only son? Could he still trust that God could still provide descendants? Could he obey God in this very difficult and challenging matter for any father?

Instead of the death of Isaac, God wanted Abraham to see how strong his response to the covenant was. He chose God rather self. Isaac’s life was spared. God loved Abraham very much. But there is a deeper meaning.  Though Abraham’s only beloved son was spared, God the Father did not spare his only begotten Son from embracing the cross, from giving his life for ours on the cross, so that we could be saved. In this gift Jesus established and sealed the new covenant through the shedding of his blood. Abraham was willing to give his greatest treasure. God gave his greatest treasure.

Reading 2: Paul picks up the theme of the first reading. God did not spare his own son but allowed him to become the sacrifice for our reconciliation.  God so loved the world that he sent his son into the world to be our Savior. This is how much God has and does love us.

Therefore, if God is for us, it doesn’t matter who is against us. We can’t fully begin to comprehend the depth of God’s love for us. Nor can we begin to equate his love. But as St. Therese of Avila said: “Love is responded to with love.” How much do I love God? The bar is set in our covenant agreement in baptism. We are called to love God with our whole mind, heart and will and love others as well.

Gospel: Last Sunday, we looked at the temptation that Jesus endured as the first stage of his life as our Messiah. He came to confront and overcome the pseudo-power of the devil. The temptations were the first volley. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross for our sake would be the final blow that would defeat and break the diabolic bond Satan held over humanity.

In preparation for this ultimate moment, Jesus prophesied to the disciples his upcoming passion, death and resurrection. Peter and the others rejected the very thought of Jesus suffering this way. So Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain to pray with him. There he experienced the glory that he emptied himself of by becoming man and the glory that he would experience once more in the resurrection. This was the Father’s way of preparing Jesus in his humanity for the passion.  The presence of Moses and Elijah represented the Law and the prophetic word, both of which spoke of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection.

The Father also used this experience to prepare the Apostles as well for this central moment in Jesus’ life. Just as at Jesus’ baptism, the Father reveals himself and the Spirit is manifested, so now the Father tells the Apostles to listen to Jesus. Even after this revelation, they remained uncertain of what was revealed.

Why does Jesus tell them not to say anything to others until after his resurrection? It is Mark’s theology that the full understanding of Jesus as Messiah would come after the death and resurrection. Then they would recognize him as True God and True Man. The Transfiguration itself did not convinced them that Jesus was God. The Resurrection of Christ would.

Our theophany or epiphany moment may not be as dramatic but the purpose is the same. 1) To reveal to us the person of Jesus in a clearer light, seeing or experiencing him in a way we have never done before; 2) To remind us to listen to Jesus, even when we don’t understand and to act on his word; 3) To recognize that God desires to share his eternal glory with us, but first we must experience the mystery of the cross in our life, which strips us of everything except God in our life.

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