Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent Year C
Theme: WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT!!!
By: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
Homily for Sunday March 13 2022
(GENESIS 15:5-12,17-18; PHILIPPIANS 3:7-4:1; LUKE 9:28B-36)
There is an interesting story in the sixth chapter of the second Book of Kings about the prophet Elisha (2 Kgs 6:14-17). The king of Aram sent his army to capture the prophet of God, Elisha, because he was aiding the king of Israel by providing crucial military intelligence through his prophetic visions. That night, the Aramean army surrounded the city. When the servant of Elisha woke up in the morning, he was terrified to see the Aramean army, with its horses and chariots, encircling the city. He ran in fear to his master: “What shall we do, my Lord?” The prophet calmly told him: “Do not be afraid, for there are many on our side than on theirs”. Perhaps he noticed that his servant did not believe him, and so he prayed: “O Lord, open his eyes that he may see.” And God opened the eyes of the servant, and “he saw the mountainside filled with horses and fiery chariots around Elisha.”
It takes time to get to know a person. The longer we know a person the better we know that person, the more the veil of bias or prejudice and ignorance drop. It took the apostles a long time to get to know Jesus. We also gradually grow in our love for, and knowledge of Jesus and we also grow in understanding what Jesus is asking of us. The Transfiguration occurs after Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ prediction about his Passion. The placement of the Transfiguration story close to Peter’s confession and Jesus’ prediction encourages us to examine the Transfiguration in the larger context of the Paschal Mystery. And to clear the doubt that was building up among the apostles.
As Peter, James and John saw Jesus’ divinity revealed, their attitudes to Jesus must have been transformed. I think we can see this call to transformation also in the first reading where Abram is promised the land by God (Gen 15:18). But when we move to the New Covenant in Christ, we see that there is no emphasis at all on land. There is a new vision with the arrival of Jesus and all previous values must be re-evaluated. Instead of inheriting land, in the New Testament the emphasis is on the kingdom of God. In the New Covenant the land to be inherited is heaven (Heb 11:16). We move on now from thinking about a geographical territory to a state of bliss. Heaven is a state of being – being with Jesus, God. We could say that is what Lent is all about, transforming ourselves and our attitudes so that we can see Jesus more clearly. Lent is a time to see with new eyes.
St. Paul said, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” As followers of Christ, we are to look with new eyes. It is the eyes of our faith that need to be opened so that we can discover God’s hidden presence in the simple and ordinary things around us. It is our faith that will help us realize that despite all the pains, sorrows, violence, problems and evil in the world, God is very much alive, and loving.” During this season of Lent, Jesus invites us to go up the mountain with Him. The mountain experience is being with Jesus in prayer. It is prayer that strengthens our faith and opens our eyes to see God and have a glimpse of heaven. Let us have more quality time to pray and to listen to Jesus. Then there is nothing to fear for we know God is with us now and for always.
Traditionally, the Mass is rightly referred to as “heaven on earth.” We do not see or hear anything extraordinary, not because God is not here, but because God wants to reveal Himself in the ordinary ways and things that we are familiar with. He speaks to us and makes Himself present through the priest, the ministers, and the entire worshipping community – all ordinary men and women. In Holy Communion, we receive His Body and Blood in the form of simple bread and wine. Like the servant of Elisha, we do not see God’s presence because our eyes need to be opened. So, we pray, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see.” Lent is a time when we evaluate our attitudes and try to take on more and more the attitudes of a citizen of heaven. Lent is a time to see with new eyes.
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara