Sunday, 5 March 2023 : Second Sunday of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we gather together to celebrate this Second Sunday in the season of Lent, all of us are reminded of this Sunday’s Scripture theme that is on the topic of calling and mission, which God has called each and every one of us to do, in following Him and entrusting ourselves to Him, to obey Him and listen to His words, as He guides us down the right path, one that is not necessarily the easiest and happiest path for us. But as long as we follow Him and remain faithful to Him, we shall find our satisfaction in the Lord, and we shall gain true joy in Him and with Him. Yet, we have to keep ourselves rooted firmly in faith in God, and focus our attention wholly on Him or else, we may find it easy to be distracted by worldly temptations and all the things which may mislead us down the wrong path in life.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Genesis, the story of how God called a man named Abram from the land of Ur in Mesopotamia, in the present day Iraq, to follow Him. Abram obeyed the Lord and listened to Him, chose to depart from his homeland, which he never saw again in his lifetime, and went first to the land and city of Harran just at the boundary between Syria and Mesopotamia, together with his father, before he embarked on his own journey with his wife, Sarai and his household and belongings to the land of Canaan, following God’s instructions and commands, and it was mentioned that Lot his nephew also followed Abram as well. This was how Abram went and follow the Lord’s calling wholeheartedly, even when he could have done otherwise and just enjoyed the riches and the comfort of where he used to live in. He instead entrusted himself to the Lord completely.

Abram listened to the Lord and trusted Him, even when there were so many uncertainties in the path that he embarked on. He had great faith in God and consequently, he was greatly blessed by God, who promised him that he would become the father of many nations, by the Covenant which God Himself established with Abram. Abram dedicated and committed himself to this Covenant, and changed his name to Abraham as a mark of his commitment. Back then, a name change often signified this commitment which one made, in establishing a pact, which in this case is the solemn Covenant that Abraham had made with God. Sarai, his wife also went through the same change, known as Sarah henceforth, as would be his grandson, later on, Jacob, who was known as Israel after he renewed the same Covenant with God.

From the examples made by our forefathers in faith, all of us can see how each and every one of us are called to do the same as well, reminded that God has always been faithful to His Covenant, in how He fulfilled everything that He has ever promised to man, to Adam and Eve, to Abraham and Sarah, and then to Jacob, also known as Israel, and his descendants, with whom God continued to renew and reestablish His Covenant. St. Paul in our second reading today in his Epistle to St. Timothy, his godson and protege has highlighted how the Lord has called us to Him, and how He has always renewed His Covenant and showing His love for us, especially through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the whole world, of all mankind. Christ has come into the world, into our midst so that by His coming, God might fulfil everything that He Himself has promised to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the story of the Transfiguration of the Lord, detailing the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ was transfigured before three of His disciples, His inner circle, of St. Peter, St. James and St. John, who went up to Mount Tabor with Him. There, they witnessed how the Lord revealed the glimpse of the truth about His true nature, as the Divine Son of God, the Divine Word Incarnate in the flesh, God Himself, taking up our human nature and existence, coming down into our midst and walking among us, so that through His coming, He may reach out to us and embrace us truly, as His own. He came to us as God Who truly loves each and every one of us, gathering us from among the nations, and calling on us all to follow Him, turning away from our sins.

By His Transfiguration and appearance with Moses and Elijah at Mount Tabor, Christ our Lord also highlighted to us all yet again everything that He has done for our sake. Moses represented the Law of God, the Law and the Ten Commandments, and everything that God has provided to His people Israel, during the time of their Exodus from Egypt and journey to the land promised to them and their ancestors, while Elijah represented the Prophets of God, the many prophets through whom God had sent His reminders and assurances to His people, reminding them of His love and faithfulness, of the coming of His salvation, and the revelation of His love and truth. The appearance of Moses and Elijah together with the Transfigured Christ therefore affirmed us all that the Lord has truly been faithful to the Covenant that He has established with us, and He wants us all to put our complete trust and faith in Him, and follow Him.

Like Abraham in the past, and Sarah, and Jacob, who have all witnessed the Lord present in their midst and journeying with them, St. Peter, St. James and St. John who have all witnessed the Lord Transfigured before their very own eyes, have seen for themselves the love of God manifested in all of His glory. That was why, after the Lord had died, and risen in glory, and then ascended into Heaven, they together with the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord, having witnessed and received, shared and understood this same truth, they all went forth fearlessly and courageously, dedicating themselves completely to the Lord and His cause, following Him in much the same way as how Abraham trusted wholeheartedly in the Lord, and all of us have also received this same truth passed down to us through the Church of God.

Those three disciples obeyed and listened to the Lord, despite having initially wanted to stay on that mountain with the Lord, in that blissful glory, with Moses and Elijah. We must understand that this request as mentioned by St. Peter was likely made because if they were to stay there in that blissful place, then they could enjoy being there and away from the hardships of the struggles and trials that they had to endure in following the path of the Lord. But God reminded all of them to listen to His Son, and to follow Him. The Lord Himself could very well have stayed there, in a great moment of blissful glory, revealing for a moment, His true glorious nature. He did not need to endure sufferings and hardships, persecution, humiliation and pain, and if we recall the Gospel passage from the last Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent, that was exactly the intent of the devil too when he tried to tempt the Lord to give in to the many temptations he presented to Him.

Yet, all those things did not prevail as the Lord showed us all true obedience, and as the Son of Man, He shows us all mankind, how to be truly obedient to God, to listen to Him and follow Him wholeheartedly, as He Himself showed by His coming down from Mount Tabor, ready to go forth to His Passion, His suffering and death in Jerusalem, to be betrayed by one of His own disciples, to be rejected by His own people and the chief priests, condemned to death and blamed for mistakes and sins that were not His own. The Lord our Saviour obeyed His Father’s will so perfectly that He offered Himself for our own behalf, and from that, gained for all of us the promise and assurance of eternal life. He showed all of us the perfect example of perfect and most selfless love, and showed us that trusting in Him and putting our faith in Him is indeed something that we should do, because He Himself has given us His promises, not just in mere words, but He truly showed us all these in person.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to this Sunday’s Scripture passages and reflect upon them, let us all be truly touched by the Lord and be inspired by Him and His own examples, and also the examples of our holy predecessors, who had followed the Lord and answered His call. Let us also follow the Lord in our own way, and listen to Him calling on us to follow Him, and discern carefully our path in life so that, in whatever it is that the Lord had led us towards, we may indeed be able to commit ourselves fully to His path, and strive our best to walk in that path throughout our lives, so that our lives may truly be worthy of Him, and our deeds and actions may truly reflect who we are, that is God’s holy and beloved people, as Christians, called to be the disiples of the Lord and as the beacons of His light and truth in our communities today.

May this season of Lent be a time for us to recommit ourselves to the Lord once again, turning ourselves away from the many temptations of the world all around us, and spend more time with God in prayer and by other means, so that we may come to know fully what God truly wants us to do, and what He has called upon us to do as well. Let us do our best to make use of the time and opportunities that had been given to us to draw ever closer to God and to know Him more. May God bless us all and guide us through this season of Lent so that we may be able to resist the many temptations all around us, and be ever more faithful and better role models and inspirations in faith in all of our actions and deeds, throughout our lives. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.