Catholic homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent Year B
Theme: Listening to God
By: Fr. Luke Ijezie
Homily for Sunday February 28 2021
Genesis 22:1-2.9-13.15-18; Psalm 116:10.15-19; Rom 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10.
1. We meet situations every day that challenge our faith. Sometimes we fall, being deceived by appearances and illusions. Religious faith is anchored on obedience to God. Another name for this is listening to God. It is the surrender of our own will to the will of God. Only those who trust God can surrender to him. This is one way to reflect on the readings of today.
2. In the first reading, which is the famous account of the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham faces the challenge of listening to God or listening to his own plans. The text begins on a very interesting note: “In those days God tested Abraham.” The reader is privileged with the information that God is testing Abraham. But Abraham himself does not know about the testing. This often happens in life. We are often being tested, our faith is often put on trial, but we do not know. Abraham’s test is a terrible one. He is asked to sacrifice his only son who is the only hope for the realization of the promises of greatness made by God to him. The words of the divine command to surrender the boy for sacrifice are well chosen and emotionally very devastating: “Take your son, your only-begotten son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” It seems as if God wanted to torture Abraham. How could he be asked to sacrifice the greatest thing he loved, the only hope of his life? What a trial! How many people would obey such a voice? This is where Abraham is different. He is a man of faith. He trusts God. He listens without question. He gives a literal response to the command and blindly obeys. Did he ever imagine that God was testing him? Surely, no! He was determined to obey to the letter and already raised the slaughtering knife over his son until God called him to stop. Abraham emerges triumphant from the terrible test. He gets great reward for his obedience of faith. But one may ask, What really motivated Abraham to assent to such difficult demand? It is nothing else than his strong conviction that God was still with him and that God was still a faithful God, and that God would still accomplish his covenantal promises in one way or the other. He believed in God’s omnipotence. He was a true man of faith. Once we trust God fully, every other thing falls in line.
3. In the second reading from Romans 8, the Apostle Paul calls us to the consciousness that with God on our side we have nothing to fear: “If God is for us, who is against us?” This is a question of faith that can move mountains. The consciousness that God is in our midst gives us the courage to forge ahead amidst all insurmountable odds. The consciousness of God’s presence gives assurance and serenity.
4. The Gospel text from Mark 9 dramatizes this glorious presence of God in the episode of the transfiguration of Jesus. Peter and his colleagues were greatly enraptured and they desired to remain there forever. This is what God’s presence does to all who experience it. But to continue to live in the sphere of God’s presence, we must do something. This is what the text teaches us. The heavenly voice advises us to listen to Jesus. In the midst of trials and upheavals, we can always triumph if we keep listening to Jesus, if we keep surrendering our own wills to his will. There are those moments when we imagine that our plans are better than that of Jesus. There are those moments when we imagine or even get convinced that what the Church teaches is old fashioned of no use to us. We build castles in the air, only to get frustrated, all because we refuse to listen to the superior divine Voice. Like Abraham, we can overcome every trial and obstacle if we keep following God with the obedience of faith. With the Psalmist we can say: “I trusted even when I said, ‘I am sorely afflicted’” (Ps 116:10). May we continue to walk in the presence of the Lord as we keep listening to His voice in every life situation!
Fr. Luke Ijezie