YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: Glory Beyond the Cross
BY: Rev. Fr. Ameh Sylvanus
HOMILY: Readings: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36
This Sunday, in a sense, can be called Transfiguration Sunday. In the simplest and basic of terms, transfiguration can be explained as a change of form/figure, a movement from one form to another. I refer to today as Transfiguration Sunday because all the readings talk about a kind of transfiguration. In the First Reading, Abram was transformed from a no man to a covenant man; St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading that Jesus will transform our wretched bodies to glorious copies of His; and then the Gospel Reading is on the event of the transfiguration of Jesus.
The events in our readings today are glorious experiences, and one may wonder why take a reading of a glorious experience during Lent. Why such readings at this time of sober reflection? The event of the transfiguration of Jesus took place after Jesus told his disciples about his impending torture and death. They had hoped that Jesus would be the Messiah, albeit a political one, and then Jesus starts talking about suffering and dying. It was incomprehensible to them, and they had a difficulty reconciling the idea of a powerful messiah with the idea of an ignominious death. So Jesus needed to let them see that God was on his side, and that the cross was necessary. What happened on the Mount of Transfiguration is akin to what happened with the Prophet Elisha and his servant Gehazi (cf. 2 Kgs 6:8-23). The disciples of Jesus needed to see the glory that was waiting after the cross.
The selection of Peter, James and John was also significant. Peter was to be the head of the Universal Church, James was the leader of the Church in Jerusalem, which at the time, was the headquarters of the Christian faith, and John was to live longest, after all the other apostles must have died. These men therefore, were to have strategic roles to play in strengthening the faith of the early church when persecutions arose.
By the event of the transfiguration, Jesus showed his disciples, and by extension, Christians of all ages, that the Cross is a necessary means of reaching our eternal homeland of glory. Today therefore, these readings are set to prepare us for the glory of Easter. Just as Jesus had to reach his glory by means of the cross, that is how in the Church today, we reach Easter only by means of the season of Lent. Similarly, in life, if there is no pain, there can be no gain; if there is no sweat, there can be no sweet; if there is no darkness, we will not know the value of light. Hence, today, we are called to set our eyes on our eternal goal even in the midst of difficulties. Scripture says that “the suffering we have to endure now is not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us at the end of time” (Rom 8:18). So, child of God, when hard times come upon you on account of your faith, make the effort to look beyond it to what God has in store for you if you successfully stand strong through such times.
May the Lord God open the eyes of our minds to realize that even in the face of our crosses, He is always there for us (cf. Mat 28:20). Amen