Detailed Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent Year C
Theme: THE JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday March 13 2022
R1 – Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
R2 – Philippians 3:17-4:1
GOSPEL – Luke 9:28b-36
Fr. Anthony de Mello once narrated the story of the prayer life of an old man who from childhood desired to change the world: “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change the world.’ As I approached middle age and realized that half of my life was gone without changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me; just my family and friends and I shall be satisfied.’ Now that I am old and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start, I should not have wasted my life.
Beloved in Christ, the central theme of this Sunday’s liturgy is Metamorphosis or Transformation, from the Greek metamorphoomai, which translates transfiguration as change in form or appearance. This simply reminds us that the Lenten season is a period we ask God to give us the grace to change ourselves.
The three readings of this Sunday invite us to be part of this journey of transformation. However, such transformation begins with the innermost self as against the man at the introit story who sought change elsewhere, making his mission a mirage.
The First Reading marks a significant stage in Abraham’s journey of faith. It was indeed a transforming encounter. It describes the transformation of Abram, a pagan patriarch, into a believer in the one God, Who would later “transform” Abram’s name to Abraham. So, the Lenten transformation of transformation is a journey from paganism to Christianity; from faithlessness to faithfulness and from sinfulness to holiness and sainthood.
In the Second Reading taken from the Letter to the Philippians, St Paul brings to our consciousness the reality of the life hereafter, since our citizenship is in Heaven. At the moment, when the last trumpet shall sound, in the twinkle of an eye, we will all be changed in the image of Christ. Eventually, Jesus will come to save us and will transform our lowly bodies like his own glorious body.
While in the Gospel, the Lukan account of Transfiguration describes how Jesus journeyed with three of his disciples, Peter, James and John to the mountain-top where he transfigured – most probably, at Tabor of about 1,886 feet (575 m) as some bible scholars infer. It was a journey that wouldn’t take less than 3 days to accomplish.
There at the mountain top, Jesus was revealed as a glorious figure, superior to Moses and Elijah who appeared with him. He was identified by the Heavenly Voice as the beloved Son of God. Thus, the Transfiguration experience is a Christophany, that is, a manifestation or revelation of who Jesus really is. Describing Jesus’ Transfiguration, the Gospel gives us a glimpse of the Heavenly glory waiting for those who do God’s will by putting their trusting Faith in Him.
*THE JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION*
The word transfiguration means a change in form or appearance. Biologists call it metamorphosis (derived from the Greek word metamorphoomai used in Matthew’s Gospel) to describe the change that occurs when a mosquito egg passes the stages of larva to pupa and an adult mosquito. The human soul equally passes through certain stages of purification to full stature of spiritual perfection.
It is pertinent to note that Jesus got transformed in a moment of prayer. Prayer can and does transform our lives in more ways than we can dream of. The Gospel passage reminds us that the mountain, for the Israelites symbolized the abode of God.
However, there are three processes of transformations in our journey towards eternity:
(1) The first transformation in our lives begins at Baptism which washes away original sin, transforming us into children of God and heirs of heaven.
(2) The second transformation takes place through our victory over temptation, sin, trials and tribulations of life. Every challenge, every difficulty, every moment of suffering is an opportunity for transformation and spiritual growth.
(3) The third transformation takes place at death. A final, completing transformation or transfiguration will occur at the Second Coming when our glorified body is reunited with our soul. So, Peter’s exclamation, “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here. Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Elijah, one for Moses…,” and the earnestness to remain at the mountain top, shows the glories of the life here-after, which all Christians should strive towards.
(1) *JESUS’ TRANSFIGURATION IS A SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT AND HOPE FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN.*
The scripture says, “Upon mount Zion, there is deliverance” (Obadiah 1:17).
Therefore, as children of God, in every moments of doubt and during our dark moments of despair and hopelessness, the thought of our transfiguration in Heaven will help us to reach out to God and to listen to His consoling words: “This is My beloved Son.” The great giants who communed with Jesus at the mountain of transfiguration, Moses and Elijah, were men of the mountain, who sought deliverance from the mountain in moments of despair and frustration (Ex 34:28, 1kg 19:1-23).
(2) *WE NEED PERIODIC “MOUNTAIN-TOP EXPERIENCES” (RETREAT) IN OUR LIVES*
As Christians, we partake in the mountain-top experience as Peter, James, and John when we spend extra time in prayer during Lent. Fasting for one day can help the body to store up spiritual energy. This spiritual energy can help us have thoughts that are far higher and nobler than our usual mundane thinking. Always break away from duty for a weekly, monthly or annually mountain experience with Jesus.
(3) *WE MUST ALWAYS LISTEN TO JESUS*
At Christ’s Transfiguration, the voice that came down from heaven says, “This is my beloved son, the chosen one. Listen to him.” The most unfortunate thing is that we live in a world that hears without listening – a world that listens with the eyes and sees with the ear. G.K. Chesterton once said,
“There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.” The command, “Listen to him,” resolves the confusion posed by the myriads of voice in the world today. Just listen to the voice of Jesus through the word and sacraments of the church and victory will be yours.
Finally, a certain man once wanted to test his wife’s hearing. He stood some distance behind her and said, “Honey, can you hear me?” Having received no answer he moved closer and again whispered, “Honey, can you hear me?” Again having received no answer he moved right up behind her and softly said, “Honey can you hear me?” She replied, “For the third time, yes!” In some ways this story could be analogous of our communication with God. We constantly check to see if he is listening in hopes that He will respond to our needs. In reality, He hears us, but He has asked us to listen to Him as well.
Beloved, Lent should be a listening time for each of us. Listening precedes transformation (change). When we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives.
HOLY FATHER, GRANT US YOUR DIVINE APPROVAL AS YOUR BELOVED SONS AND DAUGHTERS. MAKE OUR HEARTS DOCILE TO THE VOICE OF YOUR SON, JESUS CHRIST. AMEN.
*GOD BLESS YOU!*
_FR GERALD MUOKA_