DETAILED HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR B
THEME: SCALING THE MOUNTAIN OF TRANSFORMATION
BY: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
HOMILY: R1 – Gen 22:1-2,9-13,15-18
RESP. PS. – Ps 116:10,15-19
R2 – Rom 8:31-34
GOSPEL – Mk 9:2-10
The eagle has the longest life-span among birds. Eagles typically live between 20-30 years in the wild.
But it can live up to 70 years. And to reach this age, the eagle must make a hard decision. In its 20’s, there comes a time when its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. The hard, sharp and curved beak which is instrumental to eagles’ ability to catch and consume food become weak and cannot function properly. No eagle can survive without a beak or talons for any amount of time.
To worsen the situation, the old-aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, become stuck to its chest and make it difficult to fly.
Then the eagle is left with only two options: DIE or GO through a painful process of change which lasts 150 days. The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountain top and sit on it’s nest.
There the eagle knocks its’ beak against a rock until it plucks it out.
When its new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its’ old-aged feathers. And after five months, the eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 MORE YEARS.
Beloved in Christ, Jesus reminds us in the readings of today’s liturgy that, amidst the increasing rate of spiritual laxity, deadening of the conscience to sin, weakness, death, aridity, decline in moral probity, trying and challenging situations of life, frustrations and weariness, we are left with only two options: DIE or GO THROUGH A MOUNTAINOUS PROCESS OF
“μεταμορφόω” (metamorphoo), meaning, “Transformation or Transfiguration,” during this Lenten season; just as we see in the biological reality described in the introit analysis of the eagle for spiritual rebirth, renewal and regeneration.
The first reading explains how Abraham, with trusting faith in God’s mercy and power, undertook a journey of transformation, by manifesting blind obedience to God’s order to sacrifice his only son of his old age. There after, his life was transformed, making him the supreme model of Faith and ambassador of trans-generational blessings.
In the second reading, God showed His love for us by allowing the transformation of the glorious preaching and healing ministry of His Son to a tragic end, proving that God’s love has no limits.
Jesus, in the Gospel reading, takes Peter, James and John up Mount Tabor and gives them a little glimpse of His glory. The divine glory shines from the face of Jesus. He is transfigured before them or He changes in appearance when He prays to God. And then the voice of the Father from the clouds reveals who Jesus is: “This is my Son, my beloved. Listen to Him.” God the Father reveals that Jesus is not only a man, He is also God.
JESUS’ MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCE
Biblically, mountain is metaphorically used to denote, a place of divine encounter, where one experiences divine presence, breakthrough and deliverance (Obadiah 1:17). That is why, in today’s Gospel text, we see Jesus climbing Mount Tabor, as some traditions ascertained, of approximately, 1886 feet, inorder to have a heavenly gaze at the mountain top.
Nevertheless, the primary purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to allow him to consult his Heavenly Father and ascertain His plan for His Son’s suffering, death and Resurrection. The transfiguration was a theophany that authorized Jesus to make his way to Jerusalem to meet his destiny, the cross, and his vindication. God’s secondary aim was to make Jesus’ chosen disciples aware of Jesus’ Divine glory so that they might discard their worldly ambitions and dreams of a conquering political Messiah and might be strengthened in their time of trial. The Transfiguration also established Jesus’ glorious identity as the beloved Son of God and placed his Divine Sonship in the context of Jewish expectations about the kingdom and the resurrection of the dead.
LESSONS OF TRANSFIGURATION
(1) SOLUTION ABOUNDS ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP
All the heroes of Transfiguration, viz, Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ, were great men, who never hesitated to seek solutions on the mountain top during challenging and tempting moments of their lives:
•When faced with confusions, criticisms and calumny, Moses sought God’s face amidst the mountain top (Ex. 19:3-25).
•Elijah, when threatened by Jezebel who wanted to waste him, sought refuge on the mountain top (1Kgs 17:3-21).
•Even Abraham, in obedience to God’s covenantal pact, climbed the mountain top, there he returned as a generation and a model of faith (Gen 22:1-18).
•Pre-eminently, Jesus climbed over seven significant mountains that made his mission a success, which equally directs Christians on what to do at various challenging moments in our Christian life, viz:
(i) Mountain of Temptation (Matt 4:1-3)
(ii) Mountain of Teaching (Matt 5:1-11)
(iii) Mountain of Multiplication of Loaves (Jn 6:1-14)
(iv) Mountain of Transfiguration (Mtt 17:1-9).
(v) Mountain of Prayer -Gethsemane, which is below mount olive (Mtt 26:36).
(vi) Mountain of Mercy-Calvary (Lk 22:33).
(vii) Mountain of (Ascension) Commissioning (Mtt 28:16-20).
We then ask ourselves, where do we seek solutions when faced with professional, vocational and career crises?
(2) THERE IS MORE TO THE STORY… A GLORIOUS LIFE HERE-AFTER
In his distracted state of mind, Peter suggests that he, James, and John should get about the business of building shelters for Jesus and Moses and Elijah. Why? Probably, because of the beatific and glorious vision of the life here-after, greater than the transient luxury and allurements of this passing world.
Mark says that Peter didn’t even know what he was saying, because they were all so terrified, but he doesn’t want to let go of what is happening just the same. He has never seen anything like it before. Who would want to leave a glimpse of the glory of heaven? Who of us would want this glorious vision to slip away?
Little wonder, the Scripture attests, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later” (Rom 8:18).
So, do not let this moment go! Begin the journey of your “metamorphoo”
(transformation or transfiguration) now.
Finally, Anthony de Mello, narrated a story of a wise man who once reflected about himself: “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, so I changed my prayer into: ‘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.
ARE YOU WASTING ALREADY? BEGIN THE TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY NOW!
MAY GOD GRANT US THE RESILIENCE AND DOGGEDNESS NEVER TO RELENT IN OUR LENTEN JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP.
GOD BLESS YOU!
FR GERALD MUOKA