Monday, March 01, 2010

2nd Sunday of Lent - homily

“This is my chosen son. Listen to him”. We hear the Father speak in today’s Gospel! It must have been one of the most powerful moments in an already amazing scene at the Transfiguration. “This is my chosen son. Listen to him”. How? How do we listen to Christ? How do we hear God speaking to us. In my travels of discernment, I have found 4 ways that God speaks to us: prayer, Scripture, other people, and our experiences.

God can speak to us in prayer, not like I’m speaking now, but to our hearts and minds. It’s a really good idea to have a spiritual director – a priest or religious – who can help us to know if that voice in prayer is our own, God’s, or another voice all together. God speaks to us through Scripture and we’ll see what He is saying to us through the readings in a moment. He can speak to us through other people; that’s why it’s so important to be around holy people who are open to the Holy Spirit. The final way is through our experiences. The world doesn’t believe that things happen for a reason. It believes in “coincidences”. We don’t believe in coincidences; we believe in “God’s incidents”.

So, what is God saying to us through today’s readings? He is saying many things, but one thing is that He is in covenant with us. He has always been in covenant with us. Abraham is the beginning, Christ is the end, and we all are in the middle of the covenant with God. Each one of you is in the middle of the covenant with God! When I say that Christ is the end, I mean that He is the fulfillment of the covenant. The new covenant fulfills the old one. Christ is the fulfillment of the old law and the prophets, too. That’s why Moses and Elijah are represented at the Transfiguration. Moses represents the law and Elijah the prophets.

In the new covenant, all people are in covenant with God. As God’s people in covenant with Him, we have not always been faithful. Especially now, we see so many people are not faithful to God, His law, and His covenant. And yet despite our unfaithfulness, God has remained faithful. Even now, in the midst of a world of great sin and unfaithfulness, God remains faithful to us. We know this because of something that St. Paul writes in one of his letters: “where sin abounds, grace abounds more”.

The greatest sign that God is faithful to us is His Son, Jesus Christ. God sends His Son to us to redeem us from our sin, from our unfaithfulness. This is what is referred to in the scene of the Transfiguration: what Jesus will “accomplish” in Jerusalem. This word “accomplish” is significant because it shows us that Christ’s suffering is something that He will do…for us. It is his work of redemption…his work of salvation. It is also a word that we will hear on Good Friday: “It is accomplished. Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit”.

Finally, whenever we come to Mass, we remember what Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us. The amazing thing is that through our remembrance and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes truly present on the altar in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the sign for us today of God’s faithfulness to us in our covenant with Him. We will see and receive this sign in a few minutes. When I elevate the Eucharist tonight, may each one of hear these words from the Father: “This is my chosen son. Listen to him”.

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