Fr. Gerald Musa Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent Year C
Theme: FACING THE FUTURE
By: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
Homily for Sunday March 13 2022
One of the greatest challenges in life is facing an uncertain future that is both perilous and glorious. When we come to intersections or junctures of life, we are often at a loss about which path to follow, what road leads to victory, or what the future holds. We become anxious and thereafter, the unquenchable thirst and obsession about knowing the future leads us into all kinds of prayer houses, prophets, prognosticators, and soothsayers.
At the end of the last century, many became anxious about the upcoming century. The 1981 documentary titled The Man who Saw Tomorrow came to satisfy the curiosity and fears of the time. The documentary contains the predictions of French Astrologer Michel de Notredame (Nostradamus). Millions of people believed in those predictions even when critical analysts dismissed the documentary as deficient in accuracy and precision. Experts and pundits may suggest, guess, project what may happen in the future, speak about possibilities based on what is happening today, but no one can accurately and precisely predict all that will happen tomorrow. The future is in the hands of God and belongs to God. Cardinal H.E. Manning says, “Neither go back in fear and misgiving to the past, nor in anxiety and forecasting the future, but lie quietly under His hand, having no will but his.”
God had an encounter with Abraham and Jesus at a time when their future appeared bleak. In these encounters, God made them look beyond their dark moments and pointed to the glorious future that awaited them. Abraham had a tough life. He was without a child but remained obedient to God who gave him another hard task of leaving his people to go to an unfamiliar place (Genesis 12:2-3). Having seen the obedience and faith of Abraham, God promised him a bright future of a multitude of descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. He said to Abraham, “Look toward heaven and number the stars if you can number them.” Then he said to him, ‘So, shall your descendants be” (Genesis 15:5-6). What a sweet and great promise! This promise enabled Abraham to see a glimpse of what the future held for him.
Likewise, Jesus had an encounter with God at a time when He was about to undergo suffering, crucifixion, and death. In that moment of intense emotional agony, He went up to a lonely place (Mount Tabor) to pray, together with Peter, James, and John. Something spectacular happened while He prayed. His face brightened and His clothes became dazzlingly white. In that mountaintop experience, Moses and Elijah appeared to confirm Jesus as the Messiah and they conversed about his forthcoming suffering and death. There was a cloud to represent the presence of God and a voice from the cloud speaking about the Messiah saying, “This is my Son, the Chosen One, listen to him.” God was showing them a glimpse of the coming glory as of the dawn that comes after the tough black night. The experience on the mountain prepared Jesus and reassured Him of the powerful presence of God in all that He was to go through.
We have different ways of facing the future. Ronald Reagan, a former President of the United States says, “I do not want to go back to the past; I want to go back to the past way of facing the future.” Where else can we find useful and wise ways of facing the future other than the Word of God? The book of Proverbs gives us a useful tip in facing the future with faith. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Besides, St. Paul teaches us a wise way of facing the future. He says “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (1 Corinthians 4:17-18).
The stories of the divine encounters of Abraham and Jesus should guide us to look at the future with a sense of optimism. Despite their suffering and humiliation, they faced the future with faith and witnessed the glory that came after suffering. We too can face the future with optimism taking an example from David who declared “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). Even amid the present darkness and uncertainties of life, our strong hope gives us the confidence to believe that God “Who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
No matter how dark our current condition is we can adopt the positive attitude of the Psalmist who says: “I shall see the glory of the Lord in the land of the living.” Our courage, hope, faith, strength, and boldness are found in God alone. More still, facing the future with confidence demands that we look at some wonderful deeds of God in the past. There were times when He stepped into our desperate situations and saved us; there were times when He rescued us from dangerous and life-threatening situations; many times, He raised us and did not allow our enemies to rejoice over us (See Psalm 30).
Our present suffering and challenges may appear to be a curse in human eyes, but the glory that follows is a long-term blessing. A proverb in Hausa says, no matter how long the night is, the daybreak will come (Komin nisan dare gari zai waye). Let us look beyond the difficulties, suffering and the cross we carry today and remember that the triumph of evil over good is temporary. The lesson of the paschal mystery of Christ shows that exaltation comes after humiliation. Even though sufferings, injuries, poverty, sickness, and old age have disfigured the mortal bodies, they will rise again like Christ’s glorious body.
The season of Lent is a season of preparation toward Easter Glory. Besides, it is a season that reminds us about the future glory that awaits all those who lived in Christ. We must never lose sight of the plan God has for each one of us. St. Paul admonishes us to be steadfast and long for our joy and crown (Philippians 4:1). God assures us of a future that is better than all our past. A salient question to ask is: Do I face the future with fear or with faith?
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28b-36; 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C.