HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A.
THEME: Listen to Jesus! Don’t be Deceived!
BY: Father Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA.
On the Second Sunday of Lent, we are asked to listen to Jesus. He is the fullness of Divine Revelation. According to Matthew (17:1–9), Jesus ascended a high mountain with Peter, James, and John, and in their presence, he was transfigured; his face and garments became radiant. This is what we refer to as the “Transfiguration”—a revelation of the Person of Jesus and of his profound reality.
In the Transfiguration, Jesus reveals to his three apostles a glimpse of his divinity and the face of God. It is his transfigured face that those seeking to know God must contemplate, because Jesus is the perfect and full revelation of God.
God’s voice could be heard in the cloud assuring Peter, James, and John, who stood in for all of us, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and instructing them to listen to him. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5).
Also, Moses and Elijah appeared and were conversing with Jesus. Their appearance is a testimony that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, which is the Law and the Prophets. As Saint Augustine puts it, “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.”
In Jesus, God made known to the people all the truths they needed to know about God and eternal life. It means that if you want to live in accordance with God’s will and inherit eternal life, you must follow Jesus, listen to him, accept what he says, and then learn about his teachings.
Only a few of us may have heard God’s voice with clarity and clear instructions, as the apostles Peter, James, and John did in our gospel: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5), or as Abram did in our first reading (Genesis 12:1-4a): “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).
But why don’t we hear the voice of God like these apostles and Abraham did in those days? Pope Benedict XVI once observed, “We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.” The problem is relativism.
Many nowadays have their own truth and reject “the definitive truth” or God’s voice. “This is my truth,” they’ll say, and “that is your truth.” And those who dare to proclaim “the definitive truth” are “silenced” or “cancelled.” Some of them are labeled “bigots”, “intolerant,” and lacking in compassion and empathy.
Jesus Christ founded the church in order to serve as both a courageous voice of truth and a light in the darkness for the entire world. Nonetheless, these days there appear to be many wolves in sheep’s clothing in the church claiming to represent the voice of God.
Deacons, priests, and bishops in the Catholic Church are not allowed to water down or twist the teachings or doctrines of the Catholic Church because of their own flaws or personal opinions. They are called to serve God and the People of God through the instrument of the Catholic Church.
They are ordained to carry out the mission that Jesus gave to the Apostles and, through them, to the bishops of today in communion with the Bishop of Rome. They are to preach the orthodox teachings of the Catholic Church as clearly, honestly, and faithfully as they can.
Importantly, they are to preach the good news of Jesus Christ as understood and taught by the Catholic Church, even if they don’t like it or embrace it, which is unusual but not impossible, or if their own lives fall short of it.
In the debates over abortion, family, and marriage, among other moral and political concerns, who do you listen to? Maybe you listen to the country, the church, or the media. I’m sure there are many who will say they listen to their conscience. But is your conscience well formed?
The good news is that Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). The truth is definitive and everlasting. It is possible to hear and know the voice of God and do his will. We only need to know where to look for and discern the voice of God, as young Samuel did (1 Samuel 3:4–5).
Jesus Christ became Emmanuel, which means “God with us,” so that he could be the sacrament (presence) of God among us and reveal everything we needed to know about the One True God.
Before ascending into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, Jesus founded the church so that, just as he was the presence of God and the fullness of Revelation in the world, the church might become his sacrament (presence) in the world.
This church, founded by Jesus Christ, is present in the Catholic Church. It means that the Catholic Church exists to reveal the fullness of the Father’s will, the Person of Jesus Christ, in the world as well as to spread his ministry across time and space.
The will of God is revealed in the Bible, which is interpreted in the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church. Don’t look elsewhere for the will of God than in the Catholic Church. And let nobody deceive you.
Lent is a time for us to ask ourselves, “Who am I listening to?” and “What am I listening to?” Let us listen to Christ, both as individuals and as a community. If you listen to what God has revealed about himself in his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Scriptures and summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you won’t go astray. Have a blessed Sunday and Lenten season!
Father Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA.
Homily for the First Sunday of Lent, Year A
March 5, 2023
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