2lcHomily for Mass – Second Sunday of Lent (Year C)

(Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Park Ridge: 8am;  Saint Catherine’s Church, Jimboomba: 5.30pm)

24 February 2013

(Readings: Gen 15:5-12, 17-18;  Ps 26;  Philippians 3:17-4:1;  Lk 9:28-36)

On the mountain of the transfiguration, Peter, James and John saw a vision of Christ in glory:  they saw, for a moment, the glory that is his before all ages, the glory that is his in his resurrection, and a glory that he never lost, although it was hidden from human sight.

Between this sight of the Lord’s glory at his transfiguration, and the sight of his glory in his resurrection, the disciples of the Lord would have to face another sight: and that would be the disfiguration of Christ.  The beauty of Christ in his transfiguration stands in contrast to what the disciples will see in his Passion: the scourging at the pillar, Jesus carrying the wood of the cross through the streets, his flesh pierced when the crown of thorns is forced on his head, his hands and feet brutally nailed to the cross, and him being hung in the sight of people to die in that humiliating way.  The movie, The Passion, a few years ago, rammed home the reality of the disfiguration of Christ.

The disciples are given a glimpse of Christ’s glory to prepare them for the dark days ahead.  Despite all appearances, Christ would never lose the glory he shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and moreover, after experiencing the shame of crucifixion, his glory would be manifest once more in his resurrection and glorious ascension.

The Gospel of the transfiguration is always read on this second Sunday of Lent.  It’s placed here to do for us what the transfiguration did for the disciples.  It is meant to strengthen us for the days ahead; to remind us of the Easter mysteries that we are journeying towards.  The forty days of Lent is meant to be a time when we look a little more honestly at our lives;  a time when the Lord calls us to conversion of mind and heart:  to repent and believe in the Gospel.

The truth is that our sins disfigure the image of Christ in us.  Our sins inflict injury on us, and Christ living in us suffers as he did in his Passion: the blows of those who struck him, his flesh pierced by nail, reed and thorn, leaving him bruised and bloodied.  Mortal sin even leaves our soul dead, just as Jesus was truly dead on the cross.

Just as Christ faced this in his earthly life he lives it again in our lives, in our very bodies.  But, all the while, the Good News proclaimed to us is that the glory of the Lord will be seen again.  Just as the Father restores his Son to life in the resurrection, and the glory of the Lord is seen again in the Risen Christ, so too new life can come to us through penance and reconciliation.  The image of Christ in us that is battered and bruised by our sins is restored in all its glory by God through the sacraments.  Lent is a most appropriate time to approach God’s mercy and to express our contrition for what our sins do to Jesus in us, and to allow God’s healing love and mercy to breathe new life into us, and to restore the glory of the risen Lord in us.  In our second reading we can take great consolation from Saint Paul’s reminder that Jesus comes to us and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body.

Our first reading reminds us that we are descendents of Abraham who entered into the covenant with God.  In that covenant Abraham promised that he would have only one god, and that he and his descendents would worship only the One, True God.  It’s good for us during Lent to look at our lives and examine:  have I made anything else in my life “a god” in the place of the only True God?  Is there anything that I seek after, that I spend more time on, than following God’s will?  Lent is a graced time for us to come back to God, to acknowledge the things that have come between us and Him, and to ask His healing and liberating power to free us, and to make us live for Him alone.

As we offer Mass today, may we feel the Lord’s power working in us in a special way, calling us to repent and return to the Lord, so that the glory of Jesus may be restored in us and may shine in us and through us anew.