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Homily - Feb 5, 2023

Second Sunday in Lent March 5, 2023

Gen. 12:1-4a; 2Tm 1:8b-10; Mt 17:1-9. This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him…”

Introduction: The word transfiguration means a change in form or appearance, which in scientific parlance is called metamorphosis or transformation. You will recall from 7th-grade science class that metamorphosis is the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, and a tadpole becomes a frog. Simply put, it’s a gradual change on the inside that produces a total transformation on the outside. Thus, the readings invite us to work with the Holy Spirit to transform our lives by renewing them during Lent, and to radiate the grace of the transfigured Lord to all around us by our Spirit-filled lives. In other words, the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain reminds us that the way of the cross leads to Resurrection and eternal life, and that the purpose of Lent is to help us better to enter into those mysteries.

Life Message (Scripture readings): Both the first and second readings present salvation history as a response to God’s call, a call going out to a series of key persons beginning with Abraham and culminating with Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Faith is presented here as the obedient, trusting response to the call of God which opens up channels for the redemptive action of God in history, thus transforming the world. In answering this call, both Abram and Saul broke with the experiences of their past lives and moved into an unmapped future to become new “people of the Promise,” for a new life. The 1st. reading presents the change or transformation of the patriarch Abram from a childless pagan tribesman into a man of Faith in the One God. This, years later, leads to God’s transforming his name from Abram to Abraham, and making him, as promised, the father of God’s chosen people, Israel.

Conclusion: At the Transfiguration, the disciples hear a voice that recalls Christ’s baptism: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” On account of this, Pope Francis said, “We are called to be people who listen to his voice and take his words seriously. To listen to Jesus, we must be close to him, to follow him. Then his word will grow in us, so that, we will be able to proclaim it to others. This is the mission of the Church, for all baptized Christians.” Indeed, it is the grace of hearing God’s voice that filled Abraham with the conviction to go forth from the land of his kinsfolk (his comfort zone) to a completely unknown land. And we can bear our hardships for the Gospel, because, through the Transfiguration we have been given “the strength that comes from God” (2nd.reading). Therefore, I take encouragement from these words of St. Thomas Aquinas which I share with you: “It is better to limp along the way, than to stride off the way. For a man who limps along the way, even if he slow progress, eventually comes to the end of the journey. But the one who veers off the way, the more quickly he runs, further away from his goal. Hence if you are looking for a goal, hold fast to Christ, because he himself is the ‘Way, the Truth, and the Life’, where we desire to be…” And so, let’s heed to God’s call today: “…This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him…”

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