HOMILY: 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT – YEAR A
Homily Theme: The Glory of the Lord
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
The beauty and glory of this world are forcefully attractive. Its attraction often becomes a stumbling block for progress in the Spiritual Life. In fact, this attraction was and still remains the source of the falling of many persons away from God, into the land of oblivion. On the contrary, the beauty and glory from above are beyond compare; they build up and never destroy nor distract. They constitute “what no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualise; all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Cor 2:9). May this beauty and glory from above be the focus of all our decisions and choices as Christians; Amen.
It must have been a very difficult decision for Abraham to make; leaving his people and his homeland to a place he never knew; to a new form and style of life that he never planned to live and to a mission that was totally undefined for him by the One who called him. One thing was sure about the personality of Abraham and that is the profundity of his faith and trust in God. Nothing could have led him to abandon himself to God and to disdain all of his life’s dreams and plans to follow a path that was totally unknown to him and undefined to him by God other than his faith in God and his trust in God’s faithfulness to His promises. He knew that God’s stock and storehouse contain things much more new and far more glorious than the things we already have in our midst. He is the God of the ever-new; the unpredictable God; the inexhaustible Treasure-Store of things far beyond the conceptualisation of human cognitive faculties. This certainty of faith of Abraham in God became the very disposition that changed his entire life and history and person; “so Abram went as the Lord told him” (Gen 12:1-4).
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To believe in God is to recognise that whatever we have now is far less compared to what we are to have in Him in the fullness of time. Compared to Him, the beauty and attraction of this world are just like straw. This is the spiritual foundation for the necessity of the penitential mode of the Season of Lent and of the Lenten disciplines of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Through these practices, we recognize the nothingness of the passing things of this world and we profess our eagerness to detach from them as to behold the glory of Christ. This was the experience of Abraham, our father in the faith, that today we claim in our prayers the same blessings he received from God. Peter, James and John made this experience also in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 17:1-9), that they let go of everything that was dragging them to remain in this world as to cling and remain with Christ in the glory of the celestial realm; “Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” At that point, the three apostles recognised that nothing could be compared to the glory of God; they recognised that the world with its beauty and glory is just a mirage before the Majesty of God. At this moment they let themselves loose from everything of this passing world. This is detachment! This is liberation from the blinding and retrogressive beauty and glory of this world. This is focus on Christ and on the promises of God. This is the spirit of this Season of Lent; inviting us to look beyond what we see now and to keep our gaze on the glory of God. This is the attitude that will help us to live above the seductions and distractions of this world. This is the attitude that will help us to move away from our comfort zones like Abraham to that place where God has prepared for our self-realization and fulfilment. This is the attitude that will lead us to the Throne of grace, and “this grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time, but it has only been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:8-10). This is the attitude that will lead us to the mountain of the Transfiguration; this time, not just as witnesses and spectators like Peter, James and John, but we shall become transfigured ourselves in and by the glory of God after the example of Jesus Christ the Emmanuel, our Lord.
Lord our God, as we walk through the confines of this passing world, help us to know the limits and the distractive quality of the worldly beauty and glory we see around us, so as to elevate our gaze always in the contemplation of Your eternal glory through which we are transformed and transfigured; Amen.
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